The ‘street’ construct and mass-mediated identities in Nigerian hip hop

  • Paul Ayodele Onanunga


 The origins, influence and perspectivisation of American hip hop can be traced to African American locational references to the ‘hood’. The global diffusion of hip hop ensures that the ‘hood’ identity is continually localised and appropriated within emergent localities. Within Nigerian hip hop culture, the ‘street’ is a site for asserting identity, as well as for recurring locations, ideas and shared experiences of authentication and credibility. This article contextualises the street and its forms of enactment in selected Nigerian hip hop songs to help understand mass-mediated identities. Relying on a theoretical framework based on Bourdieu’s social theory of agency and Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis, the study concludes that the framing of the street is expressed through multiple modes, including linguistics (slang), locational references (places), the glorification of materialism, and the psychological fixation on attitudes (sex, drugs and alcohol), which together accentuate the exotic essence and flavour of street-conscious Nigerian music.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2070-626X
print ISSN: 1812-1004