Intra- and Interlingual Translation in Blackamerican Muslim Hip Hop

rapstarsSara Hakeem Grewal
From: African American Review 
Volume 46, Number 1, Spring 2013 
pp. 37-54 | 10.1353/afa.2013.0023
Abstract: This article examines three main aspects of translation in the hip hop of Blackamerican Muslim hip-hop artists Mos Def and Lupe Fiasco: first, translation between Hip Hop Nation Language (HHNL) and a high register of White Mainstream English (WME) termed “academic English”; second, translation between HHNL and WME more broadly; and third, translation between HHNL and Arabic. These artists’ approach to translation provides an alternative to the hegemonically normative ideas of language and translation that traditionally operate within a Christian frame, thereby also demonstrating the relevance of Sunni Islam to the broader Blackamerican community’s ability to resist the pressures of the white mainstream.