Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Jillmarie Murphy




hip-hop, music, african-american


Since its inception in the early 1970s, Hip Hop has been defined as a cultural movement that is firmly grounded on the principles of socio-political radicalism, subversion, and change. Rap, which is often synonymous with Hip Hop, is the most recent example of the disenfranchised African-American community’s attempt to gain equality through musical stylings.1 Hip Hop has followed in the footsteps of the negro spiritual, the blues, jazz, and rock and roll. While each one of these musical genres has undeniably black roots, Hip Hop, in the words of the influential sociologist Michael Eric Dyson is, “emblematic of the glacial shift in aesthetic sensibilities between blacks of different generations… Rap reflects the intraracial class division that has plagued African-American communities for the last thirty years”. In this sense, Hip Hop is more than just “a form of rhymed storytelling accompanied by highly rhythmic, electronically based music. While this definition is correct in the most basic sense, the true nature of Hip Hop is infinitely more complicated and politically charged than its fundamental musical underpinnings would suggest.