HIST R&R Project: Week 1 – Formal Topic Proposal

  • What, specifically, will be the topic of your exploration?
    • I will be spending the semester researching and presenting a comparative analysis of Race and Content in Hip-Hop.
  • How will you direct your analysis? What research questions will you address? In other words, what will you focus on with respect to your topic? What do you hope to find out after you have conducted your research?
    • I will cross-compare use of language and creativity of content between rappers of black, white and multi-racial artists in the modern day hip-hop genre.
      • Use of Language: vocabulary, original content (i.e. description of social oppression, gender, drugs)
      • Creativity of content: song comparison, does the artist present the same information in different ways or spend time on multiple topics on an album?
  • How does this topic relate to themes of the course?
    • My topic relates to the trends and transitioning of genres in the music industry. While the focus of my research is on Hip-Hop, the evolution of content within this genre can be mirrored in other genres such as Blues to Rockabilly or Early Rock and Roll to Heavy Metal.
  • What  is the larger significance of your research?
    • The primary goal for this research is to have my audience generate a better understanding for hip-hop’s message so they can appreciate the process of creativity across different mediums.
    • Personally, I am hoping to better understand the music I listen to myself. I am hoping this research will allow me to understand an artist’s creative process, how and why they gain inspiration from who they do, and acknowledge their own evolution between EP’s and/or albums that are released.



4 thoughts on “HIST R&R Project: Week 1 – Formal Topic Proposal

  1. The relationship between rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop over time is an interesting one, as are their twinned dynamics regarding race and cultural appropriation. I am not sure I would frame this as a “race vs. content” project, so much as a “race and content” one, and, at that, a project that must always pay attention to differences in content not necessarily tied to race, but intersecting with gender, class, region, subgenre, and nationality. Some would say that hip-hop at its most vibrant is that part of it that has made the genre a global language of the disfranchised from Cuba to England to France to Vietnam (check out Suboi). There’s an authenticity question that might dog you throughout here, the question of whether or not one’s subject position influences what kinds of music one might perform. It doesn’t. Anyone can perform any music competently. But, this does not mean that musics as cultural traditions mean something different given the social context of the artist who lays claim to them. Vanilla Ice and the Beastie Boys and Eminem will be flash points in this exploration, I would guess, but some other fruitful areas of research might include MC Serch and Run the Jewels. The international scene might also be worth considering, particularly England and France. Finally, the shift from consciousness hip-hop to gangsta rap at the turn of the 90s, as documented in our Clover book, will also be worth considering, as there are widely varying subject areas addressed within African-American hip-hop–by no means a monolith. Some good books to start with might include Tricia Rose’s Black Noise and Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.


    1. Thank you! I was actually going back and forth between “and” and “vs”. But I do agree with you, I think there is a lot more I can do with the topic going that direction, especially as I would like this to continue as a project after our class. I wanted to start my study with a brief overview, but then move into modern hip hop and how artists are working closer to original hip hop in spreading messages to the community.


  2. Hi Sarah,
    Awesome job on your blog. I just read your week 11 post and I wasn’t able to comment on that page so I was going to comment here. Thank you for sharing something so personal to you. It was a really moving piece and it’s great that you find peace in music and that you have a passion for it. I’m kind of shy so l respect that you were able to put everything out there. I really appreciated reading your post and I hope you continue learning about music. I’m glad I got to read your blog because it was very informative and I was able to learn about a subject that I wasn’t too familiar with.


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