Slang in American and British Hip-Hop/Rap Song Lyrics

Tessa Zelyana Hidayat(1*), Rio Rini Diah Moehkardi(2)

(1) English Department, Universitas Gadjah Mada
(2) English Department, Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


This research examines semantic changes and also the associative patterns of slang, focusing primarily on common topics, i.e., people and drugs. The data were slang terms taken from the lyrics of hip-hop/rap songs sung by four singers, two from the U.S.A and two from the U.K. A total of 105 slang terms were found, 45 of which belong to the people category and 16 to the drugs category in the American hip-hop/rap song lyrics, and in the British hip-hop/rap song lyrics, 26 of which belong to the people category and 18 to the drugs category. Bitch and nigga were found to be the most frequently used slang terms in the people category. In terms of semantic changes, broadening, amelioration, and narrowing were found, and in terms of associative patterns, effect, appearance, way of consuming, constituent, and container associative patterns were found. In addition, a new associative pattern was found, i.e., place of origin.


associative patterns; people and drugs slang; semantic change; slang

Full Text:

84-94 PDF


Andersson, G. and P. Trudgill. (1990). Bad language. Hoboken, N.J.: Blackwell.

Dalzell, T. and Victor, T. (eds.). (2008). The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. London: Routledge.

Eble, C. (1996). Slang and sociability: in-group language among college students. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.

Eminem. (2013). The Marshall Mathers LP2. Genius Media Group. Inc.
Eminem/The-marshall-mathers-lp2. Accessed 26 August 2016.

Hollmann, Willem B. (2009). Semantic change. In J. Culpeper, F. Katamba, P. Kerswill, and T. McEnery (Eds.), English language: description, variation and context, pp. 301-313. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Khalifa, Wiz. (2016). Khalifa. Genius Media Group. Inc. Accessed 26 August 2016.

Mattiello, Elisa. An Introduction to English Slang. A Description of its Morphology, Semantics and Sociology. Polimetrica. 2008.

Rascal, Dizzee. (2013). The Fifth. Genius Media Group. Inc.
Dizzee-rascal/The-fifth. Accessed 26 August 2016.

Skepta. (2016). Konnichiwa. Genius Media Group. Inc. Accessed 26 August 2016.


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 5419 | views : 78298


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Tessa Zelyana Hidayat, Rio Rini Diah Moehkardi

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Lexicon Office

English Department
Faculty of Cultural Sciences,
Universitas Gadjah Mada
Soegondo Building, 3rd Floor, Room 306
Yogyakarta, Indonesia 55281
Telephone: +62 274 513096

ISSN: 2746-2668 (Online)

Web Analytics View Stats

Creative Commons License
LEXICON is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Lexicon is indexed in


About UsSubmissionIssuePoliciesReview