Tag: rap

The song "Stan" by Eminem introduced the concept of stan to the world.

Eminem and the emergence of ‘stan’

Introduced to the world by rapper Eminem on 4 December 2000, the character Stan appears in the song of the same name, which tells the story of an obsessive fan that emulates Eminem. Stan writes letters to Eminem begging him for his approval, friendship, and acknowledgement after his love for Eminem distorted his entire reality, and when he receives no response his letters become increasingly hostile until he finds himself so angry

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Photo via Flickr/Jason Persse

Dr. Dre and the language of gangsta rap

The hip hop world knows Dr. Dre as one of its most skilled producers and as a significant mentor to other prominent rappers – including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50 Cent – but not as one of the genre’s most significant wordsmiths. However, Dre’s influence on the vocabulary of English is enormous even despite his […]

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stunt Mercedes

I’ll teach you how to “stunt”

In 2003, 50 Cent and his fellow G-Unit rappers released a song called “Stunt 101”, in which they claim to “teach you how to stunt”. I’ve been listening to this song for years without a second thought, but now it occurs to me that this verb stunt is completely baffling–what on earth does it mean!? […]

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The rain in Spain: rhyming traditions from early China to modern-day rap

Rhyme is heard everywhere—because it works. In advertising jingles, football chants, birthday-card greetings, tabloid headlines, political slogans, and catchphrases, rhyme makes the sentiments more powerful and more memorable. If you can’t beat them, join them; Arrive Alive—Don’t Drink and Drive; Dennis the Menace; No More War; hang ‘em and flog ‘em: in all, words are […]

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Men playing basketball in a park.

Hip-hop and the word ‘baller’

The other day I had an earworm stuck in my head, an old rap song which goes:  Wanna be a baller, shot-caller, 20-inch blades on the Impala…  [N.B. 20-inch blades are wheels, and the Impala is a type of car] After mouthing that line to myself for a few hours, it occurred to me that […]

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Beastie Boys lyrics have even found their way into the OED.

Beastie Boys lyrics in the Oxford English Dictionary

Ever wondered what kind of mark Beastie Boys lyrics have made on the English language? Is it possible that any of these rhymes I grew up memorizing have found their way into the Oxford English Dictionary? With this question in mind I rocked up to my desk and began my search, which, I’m happy to say, yielded some […]

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