BIO: LINQUA FRANQA is the hip hop project of Athens, Georgia-based linguist-turned-legislator Mariah Parker, whose passion for social justice and scientific fixation with hip hop language are obvious in the intricate, self-aware rhymes she interweaves with boom bap beats. Parker holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Georgia, where she now pursues a PhD in Language and Literacy Education. Her lyrics, garnished with haunting neo-soul hooks, tell unflinching tales of chemically-induced heartbreak, reproductive justice, racial politics and feminist swagger, and longtime hip-hop heads will hear echoes of nineties New York underground in both her playful vocal delivery and piano-centric, classic R&B-inspired compositions. In the wake of a critically acclaimed first album and narrowly-clinched election to the Athens city council earlier this year, Parker has garnered the attention of CNN, The New York Times, Teen Vogue, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, Afropunk, Blavity, The Hill, The Root, Impose, Performer Magazine and others for her outspoken commitments to racial and economic justice and her electrifying live performances, which call listeners to self-reflection and critical action in their lives and their communities.
“Linguistically speaking, Parker studies hip-hop patterns and tools, such as slant rhymes and syllables per second, but what she finds most interesting is “the way hip-hop language kind of flips the traditional value system upside down.”
“Metaphor-making in general really relies on that,” she says. “For example, I have a rhyme that’s like, ‘Like the scent of cyanide, I’m a little bitter’… That’s a sense experience of a smell, but now you’re equating it to an emotion, so now you’re opening up that frame to encompass more meaning than is expected.””