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Annotated Bibliography

Abstract
I will be studying the roots of lyrical content in the rap genre and the effects of that lyrical
content on the listeners. I am particularly interested in this topic because rap is my favorite genre
of music, by far, and I also write songs myself, so I hope that this research paper can help
me understand the genre better. Also, since rap is one of the 3 most commercially
successful music genres, its relevance is worldwide, and if the music is affecting the
world in a negative way, there should be a movement for change within the industry. I plan to
analyze some of the most groundbreaking songs of various subgenres of rap as well as use
testimonies from rappers themselves to get a sense as to why the write lyrics in such a way. My
current stance is that although rap does have rampant vulgarity, it should not censor its nature,
because the harsh truth is something that the world needs to keep hearing if it wants to keep
pushing for social and economic equality and justice.
Eastin, Matthew S. Rap Lyrics, Effects of Violent Content In. Encyclopedia of Media
Violence, SAGE Publications, 2013, pp. 304308.
This article, written by Matthew S. Eastin, argues that there is a strong correlation
between lyric content and consequent aggressive thoughts (304). However, according to
the article, there is evidence that shows that the increase of violent lyrical content has
coincided with decreases in recorded violent crimes. This analysis allows me to answer
whether or not the common notion that violent rap is harming our youth has any
significance in realistic terms. The article cites the success of artists such as N.W.A., and
Eminem. It shows that the increase of violent content in rap has also coincided with the
increasing popularity of the genre in popular culture. So, now the question isnt whether
rap affects the black youth, it is how is rap affecting the global youth. The article also
explores the different forms of violence that are prevalent in popular rap songs, such as
homicide and rape. I can use this analysis to further my claim that the brutal realities that
most artists live through, such as Eminem in a racially divided Detroit and the N.W.A.
members in a conflicted Compton, influence the content of said artists. However, my
previously conceived notion that this negative content has a detrimental effect on its
listeners might be proven wrong. So, I can use this article to craft my counterargument.
Katel, Peter. Debating Hip-Hop: Does Gangsta Rap Harm Black Americans? 15 June 2007.
This article, written by Peter Katel, a CQ Researcher journalist, discusses how the
vulgarity of gangsta rap, the subgenre that is most popular in popular culture, harms the
youth that mostly listens to it. The article then explores the dangerous implications that
the gangsta persona has on its participants, citing the killings of Tupac Shakur and Biggie
Smalls, as well as the attempted murders of other rappers such as Busta Rhymes,
Cam'ron, and 50 Cent. A particular testimony from 50 Cent stood out. In that testimony,
50 says that he will not censor his lyrics. I see this as an important decision because if
artists dumb down the situations that they are subjected to, such as poverty, gang
violence, etc., the listeners wont understand the significance of those events, how they

harm the victims, and ultimately, wont be prompted to push for change. I can use this to
craft argument in favor of explicitness in the rap genre.
Malone, Christopher, and George Martinez. The Organic Globalizer: Hip Hop, Political
Development, and Movement Culture. 1st ed., New York, New York, Bloomsbury
Academic, 2015.
This book, written by Christopher Malone and George Martinez Jr of Pace University
analyzes the role of hip-hop as an organic globalizer, a communicator of social and
political commentary. The book's breakdown of the history of hip hop serves as a
backbone for my paper as I analyze the various social and political movements that
correlated with the genre's development. This source's scrutiny towards the genre's
frequently violent and sexist nature provides a possible counter argument to the claim that
hip-hop serves solely an activist purpose. Chapter 4 highlights how the sometimes crude
nature of commercial rap overshadows the narratives that lie underneath, while chapters
7, 9, 10, and 11 demonstrate how different factors, present in different regions of the
world such as Palestine and Central Europe, affect how artists express their craft.
Morris, Monique W., and Khalil Gibran Muhammad. Black Stats: African Americans by the
Numbers in the Twenty-First Century. New York, The New Press, 2014.
This book, written by Monique W. Morris of the NAACP and the National Black
Women's Justice Institute and Khalil Gibran Muhammad of the Schomburg Center for
Research in Black Culture, compiles all kinds of information about black people in
America. Some statistics of note are the incarceration rates, marriage percentages,
education, and socioeconomic status. For example, compared with 30% of the country
only 20% of blacks aged 25 or older have earned a college degree or better (4). Statistics
like this one are factors that prompt hip hop artists to write about the inequality they feel
in the United States. These statistics can further the claim that artists such as Tupac and
Nas make about the harsh realities of life in the streets . They write about police brutality
and about the fact that the drug trade is seen as the only escape from poverty, for
example, and these statistics help further those claims by implying that there might be a
systematic oppression of the black American due to the consistency of unequal statistics.
Pendergast, Tom, and Sara Pendergast. Shakur, Tupac (1971-1996). St. James Encyclopedia of
Popular Culture, vol. 4, St. James Press, 2000, pp. 377378.
This article, written by Sara and Tom Pendergast, outlines the life and work of rapper
Tupac "Amaru" Shakur. It explores the medias controversial view of him and his music.
It highlights how Tupacs gangsta persona often overshadows his poetic abilities as an
artist, as his songs highlight the police brutality and poverty that he was subjected to. It
also highlights how Tupacs song Keep Your Head Up criticizes the misogynist and
sexist nature of men while telling women to stay strong no matter the situation. Granted,
this is a very straightforward song, but I can use this article and to help me prove the
point that if you dig deep, you can find positive messages in most of Tupacs music.

Peterson, James Braxton. The Hip-Hop Underground and African American Culture: beneath the
Surface. New York, NY, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
This book, written by James Braxton Peterson of Lehigh University, considers the
multiple dimensions that make up the African American underground and its influences
on the hip-hop genre. It cites testimonies from rap legend KRS-One, as well as those of
jazz composer Thelonious Monk, whose music influenced the later production of hip hop
record, and author Richard Wright, whose writings influenced the racial content in hip
hop lyrics. The connection that the text makes between the hip-hop culture and the
African American past can help me conclude that hip-hops roots lie in the narratives of
past victims of racialized oppression in the U.S. This apparent reality helps me trace the
contempt found in underground artists such as Immortal Technique and even mainstream
artists such as Mobb Deep to the systematic racism black people have faced in the U.S.
for over 300 years.