Singers use artistic conventions to construct marketable music personas. However, that’s not the full picture. In the US, for example, most American hip-hop and rap songs are also a reflection of the artistes’ living experiences and social communities. These mainly involve gang violence, street hustling and thug life. The late rapper, Notorious B.I.G., summarized a part of this succinctly in his song “Juicy”: “Yea, this album is dedicated to all the teachers that told me I’d never amount to nothing, to all the people that lived above the buildings that I was hustling in front of that called the police on me when I was…

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