What do spelling and hip hop have in common?
Recently, I was lucky enough to meet two international hip hop artists Daz and Kurupt. These outrageously cool rappers were both extremely polite and friendly. Being the publisher of Spellodrome, I couldn’t help but notice the way they spelt their names! This got me thinking about other hip hop and rap artists and their titles. You see, when Daz and Kurupt perform with Snoop Dogg they are known as the Dogg Pound Gangstaz and other well- known artists go by the names Salt N Peppa, Mystikal, Soopafly, Outkast and Afrika.
So, why the obvious spelling errors? These spelling mistakes are blatant and often involve the use of high frequency words that everyone knows how to spell. The purpose behind this misspelling is to draw attention to the names and help us remember them – bad spelling for a good reason. The deliberate misspelling draws us in and provides an anchor to remember their names. It’s an accepted part of the culture within hip hop and rap music.
My encounter with Kurupt and Daz reminds me how important it is to consider the audience when writing and spelling. Incorrect spelling within context can be appropriate! Of course, we should take care to remember that incorrect spelling in other contexts is not. Any correspondence should be edited carefully including checking spelling, punctuation and vocabulary. Just as important is considering who our audience is and writing for them in context.
Of course, I am not implying that hip hop artists are genuinely poor spellers. In fact their awareness of words and names suggests a good command of spelling despite its manipulation. For the record, I know the Australian hip hop artist who goes by the name of Skryptcha. His real name is Angus and he depends upon strong spelling and writing skills in his other job, as a well-respected journalist!
Download a copy of our Top 100 Spelling and Grammar rules posters to put up in your classroom or in your home.