Background to the Study

From time immemorial throughout the world, music has been a major form of entertainment. When people feel the need to relax, they simply turn on the music by means of radio, television, mobile phones and the internet. The prevalence of music is nothing new and has been acknowledged to play an important role in human society. Music in Nigeria has passed through several phases over the years with different actors and iconic moments. For much of the 1990s, Nigeria’s popular music scene was saturated with highlife, local reggae, galala and fuji but in the late 1990s and early 2016s, a new generation of singers arose (Olaluwoye, 2018). During the military government that brought about crisis in Nigeria, which involved the devaluation of currency, loss of jobs and persistent unemployment,t especially, for new graduates from the university. Hip hop was used during this time for entertainment but also to criticize the government and demand change from that time (Dairo, 2020).

Today, Nigerian hip hop has become so popular that it has begun to displace western popular music. Hip hop now sits as the number one music genre in Nigeria, edging out other genres (Akan, 2019). It provides an outlet from hardships and a bridge of escape to another world that is both familiar and strange (Shonekan, 2021).

Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary (2019) refers to hip hop as a type of modern dance music with spoken words and a steady beat played on electronic instruments. Nigerian hip-hop consists of hip-hop songs, written, composed, arranged, sung, promoted, and marketed in Nigeria for Nigerians. The composition of Nigerian hip-hop songs involves the careful use of words which are used to melodiously express the mind of the hip hop artist. Each hip hop artist has his/her own unique style of singing and one thing that is common among all hip hop artistes is their unique use of words to create slangs which enhance the musical quality of the artistes’ work

Slang is highly informal and is often used in colloquial speech. It is a part of a language that isusually outside of conventional or standard usage and that may consist of both newly coined words and phrases and ofnew or extended meanings attached to established terms (Yanchun and Yanchun, 2021). Elbe (1998) defines slang as an ever changing and fashionable set of vocabulary of sociability used to express or reinforce identity cohesiveness within a group with a trend or fashion in a society at large. According to the online Oxford English Dictionary, slang is the special vocabulary used by any set of persons of a low or disreputable character; language of a low and vulgar type, language of a highly colloquial type, considered as below the level of standard educated speech. In the same vien, Hashemi (2021) refers to slang as speech expressions used by a speech community (e.g. teenagers, criminals, etc.) that wishes to show its attachment to a favorable social identity; a usage which is not often approved of by other social groups. It is a style of usage that is not acceptable in situations outside the group and is unfavorable to the general population. Similarly, Partridge (2021) sees it as a kind of vagabond-language always hanging on the outskirt of legitimate speech but continually straying or forcing its way into the most respected company.

This is why Olukoya (2020) concludes that slang is a variety of language which is presently being used in almost all spheres of life, including music (hip-hop), which has faced and survived a lot of negativity and fought its way to attain its present status as a language of identity, unity, liberation, and a strong enhancer of social interaction among those who use it.

Hip hop artist in their songs often mix Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Pidgin English, and English in their lyrics  to create new words which may be a single word, a group of words or a sentence, resulting in slangs and catchy phrases that have distinct meaning. These slangs and catchy phraseshave become a main influence defining the language use of Nigerian youths. Omojola (2020) asserts that the slangs and catchy phrases used in Hip Hop songs in Nigeria today appear to have encapsulated the life of the average urban youth and increasingly also the lives of rural youths across the country.

This is not surprising, given that Nigerian society is still very culture bound and music is believed to be a vehicle of communication of social values. According to Laidi (2019), as fans consume the music, they not only understand the lyrics through the various languages used, but also create meanings in order to develop or even perpetuate an individual or group identity. In this way, everyone “flows” with the rhythms because the Nigerian hip hop artistes employ various phrases and slangs to create a community of music lovers that understand and share in the meanings of the languages and issues articulated in the music

Looking at the Hip Hop music industry today, one will definitely see that the Hip Hop music being sung in Nigeria is really captivating to the people of Nigeria especially the youths compared to the international music. Research has shown that people are buying more of the records of the local Hip Hop artistes compared to the international ones. This shows that Nigerian Hip Hop songs have gone a long way to make the listeners, of which the youths are of large category, to really appreciate their local Hip Hop songs through the use of all various languages that are characterized with slangs and catchy phrases

At this juncture, we can easily assert that the use of slang forms and catchy phrases play an important role in hip-hop songs in Nigeria. The language of hip-hop has spread to all media forms and is now popular on almost every street in Nigeria. This means that Hip-hop is well on its way to becoming the undisputed dominant musical culture of the new millennium. This status will further increase the effect that hip-hop slangs and catchy phrases has upon students and the way that they communicate on a daily basis.



Statement of the Problem

Most musicians deliberately use slangs and catchy phrases in hip-hop songs in order to increase the rate of acceptability of such songs among listeners and also to create a landmark worth discussing even while the song is no longer in vogue. Thus, it might happen that most of these slangs and catchy phrase tend to affect students in the area of learning English language or any other subject as they may form the habit of using slangs and catchy phrases.

Judging from the amount of hip-hop words that have entered the mainstream, hip-hop’s effect upon language is clearly very powerful. The presence of hip-hop is seen in the students’ clothing and also heard in their language. Due to the fact that Hip-hop slangs and catchy phrases  are highly accessible and quickly incorporative through various forms of media, students are seen saying “Holla at your boy” “Don’t dull” meaning “don’t be boring/dry/uninteresting, especially when you are up in a club or someplace of similar repute; “No Lele” meaning “No problem”; “Jo oh” simply the Yoruba word for “please”; “Maga Don Pay” meaning “the fool has paid” and is interestingly used by ladies when guys “drop”; “Ten over Ten” referring to perfection or completeness; “Na wash”,  a catch-phrase which means “It’s a deception/lie” and many more. This means that the widespread popularity of these hip-hop slangs and catchy phrases will have a significant impact upon the English language that is used by today’s students. Hence, this study is carried out to examine the impact of slangs and catchy phrases in Nigerian Hip Hop music on undergraduate students’ use of English







Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of slangs and catchy phrases in Nigerian Hip Hop music on students’ use of English in College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti. Specifically, this study will:

  1. Determine the common slangs and catchy phrases used in some selected Nigerian hip hop songs
  2. examine the extent to which slangs and catchy phrases in selected Nigerian hip hop songs is prevalent among students of College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti
  • Examine the effect that slangs and catchy phrases in Nigeria hip hop songs has on students’ use of English


Research Questions

The following questions guide the study

  1. What are the common slangs and catchy phrases used in some selected Nigeria hip hop songs?
  2. To what extent are slangs and catchy phrases in selected Nigeria hip hop songs prevalent among students of College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti?
  • What effects do slangs and catchy phrases in Nigeria hip hop songs have on students’ use of English?


Significance of the Study

A full understanding of hip-hop slangs and its influence on communication can provide a valuable tool for better ways to educate today’s students. Since students are heavily influenced by the culture of media, it is now necessary for educators to fully understand hip-hop slangs and how it affect students in order to develop a pedagogical strategies to ameliorate the possible effects. Students will also benefit from this study by creating awareness on the influence that perpetual use of slangs has on their use of English. This will enable them to drop the habit of using slangs and catchy phrases in place of correct words even at informal places which will improve their communicative competence. Finally, the study will contribute to the bodyof exiting literature and knowledge to this field of study and basis for further research.


Scope of the Study

This research work uses a maximum of thirty (30) Nigerian hip-hop songs from different Hip Hop artisst as data within which slang and catchy phrases are extracted. Also, selected students in College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti were used for the study. The common slangs and catchy phrases in Nigerian hip-hop music were analyzed to determine their how and when students use them in order to ascertain its effect on students’ language and communication as a whole





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