More often than we expect, there is a disconnect between our well-meaning efforts to make English classes meaningful to students and their “whatever” attitude. Is it us? Is it them? Is it the books? We will review the application of key concepts from demographics and sociolinguistics as simple research tools, and their application along with ELT strategies. As teachers, we can develop skills to replicate our students’ subcultures and urban tribes, so that they can contextualize English as a relevant aspect of their lives, in ways conducive to their really speaking and writing.