Lyrical Referencing in Australian Hip Hop


  • James Lewandowski-Cox The University of Queensland



Australian hip hop, referencing, musical borrowing


Australian MCs, like other hip hop artists around the world, often quote lyrics from others in their own works. Australian MCs quote from a wide range of texts to help situate their music as being distinctly hip hop. The positioning of these quotes allows MCs to place themselves into a lineage of hip hop music, and this lineage identifies their influences. By quoting from previous works, Australian hip hop artists are constructing a hip hop identity that is constructed through an interaction with other works. Drawing on ethnographic research with hip hop practitioners in Australia, I will argue that lyrical borrowing and quotation is an essential aspect of hip hop culture. This interaction with other, global, hip hop texts not only forms a crucial structure to the genre, but has also drawn many of the artists into the genre. The intertextual nature of the genre is something that the MCs seek to explore, with many wishing to insert themselves into the narrative of the genre.


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How to Cite

Lewandowski-Cox, J. (2019). Lyrical Referencing in Australian Hip Hop. Journal of World Popular Music, 6(2), 151-172.