Hurricane Chris, the Louisiana Legislature, and Linguistics

HURRICANE CHRIS

HURRICANE CHRIS

TBE’s interest in the intersection of hip-hop and politics demanded that we post footage of Ratchet City, Louisiana favorite son Hurricane Chris addressing the Louisiana state legislature, even if it falls slightly outside our usual mandate. Hurricane Chris, whose seminal “A Bay Bay” enjoyed a brief vogue in TBE’s offices circa summer 2007, was recently recognized by his home state in some capacity, which led him to declaim his newest offering, a paean to the beauty of Halle Berry (no known relation to Nabih), aptly titled “Halle Berry (She’s Fine),” from the floor of the legislature.

“A Bay Bay” and the official version of “Halle Berry,” plus some uninformed comments from TBE’s linguistics correspondent, after the jump.

“A Bay Bay”

Best lines: “It’s so hot up in the club that I ain’t got no shoes on.”

“Ay Bay Bay”

“Halle Berry (She’s Fine)”

Best lines: “Let’s get raaaghteous let’s get righteous.”

“Even though she got class she listen to UGK.”

Linguistics break: 

Growing up in the US, TBE always connected slowness of speech and honeyed accents to the south, and, without giving it much thought, believed that such a connection was intuitive (i.e. that the heat would force people to speak more slowly). This is obviously dumb, and is clearly not the case in Egypt or the Arab world, where Saidis speak faster than Cairenes (though it could be that, attuned to the rhythms of Cairene dialect, TBE’s mental process upon hearing Saidis speak incorrectly equates “hard to understand” with “fast”) and the accent most akin to one from the southern US (and this is admittedly a stretch) is Lebanese, with its stretched out words and general mellifluousness.

The interesting question then becomes what exactly are the geographical determinants of accents, if any. TBE has heard but not verified that the Arabs that settled in what is now Cairo during and immediately after the spread of Islam omitted the qaf, a feature that is preserved in the modern dialect, but knows little else about the historical origins of accent formation, either in the Arabic-speaking world or the US, but is eager to learn. Readers with any knowledge of these topics please contact TBE posthaste.

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1 Comment

Filed under Academics, Hip Hop, Lebanon, Linguistics

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