Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155977
Title: PREACHERS ON THE STREETS: THE LINGUISTIC CONSTRUCTION OF IDENTITY BY GOSPEL RAPPERS
Authors: CHARIS CHING YONGYI
Issue Date: 15-Apr-2019
Citation: CHARIS CHING YONGYI (2019-04-15). PREACHERS ON THE STREETS: THE LINGUISTIC CONSTRUCTION OF IDENTITY BY GOSPEL RAPPERS. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Gospel rappers face tensions in aligning themselves to the hip hop community and to the Christian community at the same time because of the entrenched perceptions of hip hop being associated with the profane as well as Church music’s high resistance to change. The aim of this thesis is to investigate how gospel rappers navigate these tensions by employing various linguistic strategies in their performances so as to position themselves as legitimate members of both the hip hop and the Christian community. I begin by explaining the phenomenon of ‘Holy Hip Hop’ and the tensions involved in the development of this subculture. Following that, I provide a summary about previous research on language, identity and religion, giving particular focus to Bucholtz and Hall’s (2004a; 2005) sociocultural linguistic approach to identity analysis and the techniques of Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough, 1989), and Critical Metaphor Analysis (Charteris-Black, 2004). Next, I provide brief outlines of the histories of rap music and gospel music respectively. Using the theoretical frameworks mentioned above, I analyze the rap lyrics of the 116 Clique, an American Christian hip hop collective, and explain how the members of this group establish their identities as gospel rappers. My analysis shows that the rappers in 116 Clique make clear their identities as Christians by attributing their performances to a divine source and at the same time concretise their identities as members of the hip hop community by demonstrating their understanding of the essence of hip hop through linguistic means. I contend that the rappers frame their identities as ‘preachers on the streets’ which aids them in their goal of evangelism, especially to people from the inner-city communities, where hip hop originated from.Gospel rappers face tensions in aligning themselves to the hip hop community and to the Christian community at the same time because of the entrenched perceptions of hip hop being associated with the profane as well as Church music’s high resistance to change. The aim of this thesis is to investigate how gospel rappers navigate these tensions by employing various linguistic strategies in their performances so as to position themselves as legitimate members of both the hip hop and the Christian community. I begin by explaining the phenomenon of ‘Holy Hip Hop’ and the tensions involved in the development of this subculture. Following that, I provide a summary about previous research on language, identity and religion, giving particular focus to Bucholtz and Hall’s (2004a; 2005) sociocultural linguistic approach to identity analysis and the techniques of Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough, 1989), and Critical Metaphor Analysis (Charteris-Black, 2004). Next, I provide brief outlines of the histories of rap music and gospel music respectively. Using the theoretical frameworks mentioned above, I analyze the rap lyrics of the 116 Clique, an American Christian hip hop collective, and explain how the members of this group establish their identities as gospel rappers. My analysis shows that the rappers in 116 Clique make clear their identities as Christians by attributing their performances to a divine source and at the same time concretise their identities as members of the hip hop community by demonstrating their understanding of the essence of hip hop through linguistic means. I contend that the rappers frame their identities as ‘preachers on the streets’ which aids them in their goal of evangelism, especially to people from the inner-city communities, where hip hop originated from.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155977
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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