Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 15, 2014

The appropriation of African American Vernacular English and Jamaican Patois by Nigerian hip hop artists

  • Akinmade T. Akande


The present paper deals with multilingual practices as they have emerged in Nigeria’s vibrant hip hop community. Apart from English, the most important strand in the multilingual fabric of Nigerian hip hop lyrics is Nigerian Pidgin. In addition, several more indigenous languages are used regularly. The focus of the present study, however, is on the use of two foreign varieties, namely African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) and Jamaican Creole or Patois (JC). Borrowing from AAVE and JC is a useful strategy for Nigerian artists to authenticate their performances by international standards. In principle, multilingual practices, including use of dialects and languages which are not natively spoken in a community, fits in well with the hip hop aesthetic. However, as will be shown, some AAVE and JC elements are borrowed without a full understanding of their linguistic and cultural context or transformed in an effort to adapt them to a new local context, which also runs the risk of undermining authenticity. Borrowing from AAVE and JC proves most problematical on the level of grammar

Online erschienen: 2014-03-15
Erschienen im Druck: 2012-07

© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co.

Downloaded on 28.5.2023 from
Scroll to top button