Just in Time for February 14: “Hip Hop’s Languages of Love”

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Women and Language.  There’s a whole journal with that name:

WOMEN AND LANGUAGE, an international interdisciplinary research periodical, serves as a forum for innovative studies and critical conversations among feminist theorists and gender scholars. Women and Language accepts submissions of scholarly articles that make conceptual and research contributions to the study of communication, language, and gender. Book reviews and reviews of digital media are also welcome.

I didn’t know about this journal until I stumbled upon a reference to the most recent special issue, “Hip Hop’s Languages of Love.”  Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction by Ebony A. Utley (Communication Studies, California State University Long Beach) and Brenda J. Allen (Communications, University of Colorado Denver):

Professor Ebony A. Utley

We sought critical analyses of this topic because hip hop has been and continues to be a significant cultural force that often refers to intimate relationships. Although critics often decry hip hop for being misogynistic, we hoped to provide a forum to both delve into that critique and provide insights about other facets of hip hop’s treatment of love. This exciting set of articles and poems accomplishes our goal by exploring diverse contexts, concepts, and constructs to illuminate complex dynamics of hip hop, love, language, and gender.

Here are the articles in the issue:

  • Lisa M. Corrigan, Sacrifice, Love and Resistance: The Hip Hop Legacy of Assata Shakur
  • Rachel N. Hastings, Black, Blue, and Loved All Over: Revolutionary Love, ‘Seven,’ and the Ritual of Spoken Solidarity
  • Evan Mwangi and Wanjiru Mbure, Passion in a Mathree: Metropolitan Love in Nazizi Hirji’s ‘Kenyan Girl/Kenyan Boy’
  • Heather Day, Falling Out of Love with Hip Hop
  • Michelle Jones, Love Magnified: Where Art Thou?
  • Michael P. Jeffries, Can a Thug (get some) Love? Sex, Romance and the Definition of a Hip Hop ‘Thug’
  • Jamel Santa Cruze Bell and Roberto Avant-Mier,  What’s Love Got to Do With It?  Analyzing the Discourse of Hip Hop Love Through Rap Balladry, 1987 and 2007
  • Tia C.M. Tyree, Lovin’ Momma and Hatin’ on Baby Mama: A Comparison of Misogynistic and Stereotypical Representation in Songs About Rappers’ Mothers and Baby Mamas
  • Cassandra Chaney, Trapped in the Closet: Understanding Contemporary Relationships in the African- American Hip Hop Community
  • Ebony A. Utley and Alisha L. Menzies, Show Me Some Love: Youth Responses to ‘Kiss Me Thru the Phone’

The issue isn’t available via open source, but it is accessible via the Communications & Mass Media Complete database of EBSCOhost (via Academic Search Premiere, available at many university libraries).

I especially liked the Bell & Avant-Mier article, which contrasts “I Need Love” (LL Cool J) with “Soulja Girl” (Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em).  Videos after the jump.

-Bridget Crawford

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