the prodigal tongue-mark abley

“No one is quite as deliriously and unapologetically in love with the way words sound as are rappers,” writes the New York journalist Adam Sternbergh. “At a time when the language of advertising and marketing has turned much of the culture into a linguistic landfill-is there any phrase more meaningless than ‘Please hold the line, your call is important to us’?-rappers keep the English language exciting.” To stay afloat in the music, you have to keep abreast of the words.” (155-6)

“DJ Static arrived in Canada in 1988 as an eleven-year old boy from Hong Kong. “Kids in my first school in Vancouver started passing me cassette tapes-that’s how I learned English. I was repeating hip-hop lyrics before I knew what any of it meant.”

Years later, hip-hop would bring him to the world. DJ Static has performed in Cuba, Switzerland and the Hong Kong he left as a child; in a Montreal crew called Nomadic Massive, he spins the turntables beside performers from Chile, Argentina, Haiti and Iraq. They rap in five languages. Music is their common home. “Hip-hop is like a river,” he said, a thin smile on his lips. “You’re carried along. It’s way bigger than you. And it takes you to a new place. For better or worse, it’s going to keep growing. It’s going to eclipse most other things. It’s going to become ever more dominant.” (160)

thank you, toronto reference library.


One thought on “the prodigal tongue-mark abley

  1. “Each language makes it onerous for speakers of the other to write or pronounce correctly. And third, some apparently inexplicable errors can be traced back to mistranslation. Why would a Japanese package of coffee have the name Ease Your Bosoms? The answer, almost certainly, is an inept rendering of the English phrase “Take a load off your chest.” (110)

    the rest(icals):

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