Hip-Hop Culture Invasion: A Dialogue Between America and Italy


  • Camilla Fascina




“Rapping is part of the cultural heritage of Black ghetto life. According to Black semantics it not only denotes ordinary conversation, but also defines specific ways of communication. In the 1960s many linguists, sociologists and psychologists conducted thorough research on the behaviour and language-use of ‘ghetto Blacks’” (Remes). In his book Black Popular Music in America, Arnold Shaw reports that rapping has been associated with the hip-hop culture “since the mid Seventies in the United States and that it originated in the South Bronx, New York (...) where hip-hop started as a collective and positive reaction against the spiral of violence of street gangs”. In sociolinguistic studies rapping is described as “fluent, lively speech, highly determined by personal style” (Folb), and rap performances are defined as a “display of complex structures of communication” (Remes).

Taking into consideration these definitions, the aim of the present study is to observe in which ways hip-hop as a “language” and, metaphorically speaking, as a “communication vector,” develops in Italy. In order to reflect on these aspects, an overview of the Italian hip-hop scene will be outlined through the analysis of specific songs by Italian MCs.


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