Ambitionz az a Ridah: 2Pac's changing accent and flow in light of regional variation in African-American English speech and hip-hop music


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    In hip-hop culture, representing where you are from is important. Two means of doing so are speech (using regional accents) and music (using regionally marked rap styles: ‘flows’). This interdisciplinary PhD project found that for African-American English (AAE; hip-hop’s primary language variety in the US), the West Coast and East Coast accents are distinct. West Coast AAE has longer vowels, greater melodic variation, and greater rhythmic variation than East Coast AAE, and listeners can differentiate between the varieties. Similarly, West Coast rap flows exhibit more melodic and rhythmic variation, suggesting a strong link between language and music in an AAE/hip-hop context.

    So what would happen to the speech and rap of a prominent rapper if they moved to another region, switching regional allegiances? To answer this question, the late rapper 2Pac’s speech and rap were investigated. 2Pac was originally from the East Coast, but later moved to California, where he would become West Coast hip-hop’s leader in a conflict with the East Coast scene. The results show 2Pac’s speech and rap became more West Coast-like over time, with the rate of this development towards West Coast norms increasing once he turned his back on his native East Coast. He also regularly ‘overshot’ the target during this time, sounding more West Coast-like than his Californian peers. These observations suggest 2Pac consciously manipulated his speech and rapping to sound like a West Coaster when his changed regional identity demanded it, showing that second (linguistic/musical) dialect acquisition involves both passive and active processes.
    Originele taal-2English
    KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
    Toekennende instantie
    • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
    • Lowie, Wander, Supervisor
    • de Bot, Cornelis, Supervisor
    Datum van toekenning13-sep-2021
    Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
    StatusPublished - 2021

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