Here’s something that you might be thinking about when it comes to honing your rap skills and delivering your flow and that’s, “What accent should I rap in?”
To me this has always been very simple and yet maybe it isn’t.
I’ve always rapped in the same accent I talk in. In the world of rap on a global scale my accent is pretty damn rare. There frankly are not that many rappers with an overt Southern English ‘Hampshire Hog’ accent. Many other rappers from my area tend to change or ‘adapt’ their accent when delivering their bars for different reasons. Perhaps it’s because they feel they won’t be understood, or maybe it’s because they think their accent isn’t cool and therefore won’t be accepted by those that hear it. Or maybe they feel they won’t be taken seriously.
And to be fair there are 2 examples that come to mind of rappers that changed or ‘adapted’ their accents to fit in with the rap populace of their respective eras.
They are Britain’s Monie Love and Australia’s Iggy Azalea.
I’m a fan of Monie Love. There’s no denying her rap credibility and place in Hip Hop. Yet she’s from Battersea, London and rapped with a New York, American accent.
Similarly there’s no denying the success of Iggy Azalea. Yet she’s from Mullumbimby Australia and raps with an Atlantan, American accent.
This then raises questions. Would the above 2 artists have been as successful had they chosen to rap in the same accent they spoke in? Quite possibly not, at least not in the USA where the sound of a rapping British accent would have been quite jarring to American ears during the time Monie was making music (the late 80’s early 90’s). And similarly so for Iggy with her natural Australian speaking accent today.
The choice is yours.
That being said I personally would urge you to rap in the same accent you speak in. This might possibly hinder your initial success at some level. But in this internet day and age I would say that is relatively unlikely in the long run. There are artist’s that have made their accent cool and fashionable simply by being authentic. People actually like authenticity! Back in the day rap was pretty much all in a New York accent because that’s where Hip Hop came from. Rapping in a US Southern ‘drawl’ was once frowned upon until artist’s like OutKast and Scarface came along and made being from Atlanta and Texas cool because their music and style was so fresh and authentic to who they are. In more recent times just look at Die Antwoord who have made the South African ‘Afrikaans’ accent cool. And then there are all the Grime artists now coming over to the US for shows and interviews from the UK with their uncompromising sound and distinctively British (chiefly London) accents!
To me, that’s the moral of the story here. Things were more difficult in Monie’s era. Today we’re a much more global society and people want to hear about you and what makes you different from everyone else. So be uncompromising with your accent, be authentic, be a rapper from where ever in the world you’re from. Be an artist!!
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