Date of Submission

Spring 2012

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Michael Donnelly

Abstract/Artist's Statement

For this paper, I interviewed eleven college students who, according to their own analysis, are white, middle to upper class, and liberal, and all professed to like hip hop. It is fairly ordinary that this group likes hip hop - in fact, hip hop is one of the principal types of music that this group is thought to enjoy. I thought it would be interesting to examine why a group that is well-educated and urbane finds itself so so attracted to a type of music generally considered to be both the violent, trashy music of the urban underclass, and an example of the vapidity and nihilism of mainstream American pop music. After conducting several interviews with this group, I found that this group only listens to a very specific form of hip hop tailor-made for their enjoyment. I found that generally no matter what point they made, they were quick to point out that they only listened to a particular type of hip hop, and disapproved of most of its mainstream elements, not only for what they feel is its poor artistic quality, but also for the messages it endorses. In this paper, I explore the various reasons this particular group enjoys this particular music, and find that while this group is proud to say they like "hip hop," they in fact like only a small percentage of hip hop that was designed to be liked by people just like them.

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