Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis




Joline Blais

Committee Members

Kreg Ettenger, Christine Beitl, Sharon Tisher, Stuart Marrs

Graduation Year

August 2020

Publication Date

Summer 8-2020


The misperception that hip-hop is a single entity that glorifies wealth and the selling of drugs, and promotes misogynistic attitudes towards women, as well as advocating gang violence is one that supports a mainstream perspective towards the marginalized.1 The prevalence of drug dealing and drug use is not a picture of inherent actions of members in the hip-hop community, but a reflection of economic opportunities that those in poverty see as a means towards living well. Some artists may glorify that, but other artists either decry it or offer it as a tragic reality. In hip-hop trends build off of music and music builds off of trends in a cyclical manner. A hip-hop artist often sees an economic incentive to fall within these stereotypes. Following trends is how to stay popular and stay relevant within the realm of popular culture. The content of hip-hop, however, is much broader and more diverse in its ethos and ideologies than what is heard on the radio. The goal of this thesis is to examine the broader spectrum of hip-hop, and to take a look behind the curtain and reveal a vaster and more variable genre that branches from these stereotypes and trends. This thesis will use samples of hip-hop music as its primary data, giving voice back to the marginalized from whom it has been taken. By analyzing these primary sources, a better understanding of artistic intent and context will be derived from mainstream hip-hop culture and its various branches.