Publication Date

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Communication and Training

First Advisor

Jason Zingsheim, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Rashidah Muhammad, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lara Stache, Ph.D.


This work uses grounded theory and the framework of Black feminist thought to analyze the messages in contemporary hip hop music. Grounded theory was chosen to create an unbiased setting that allowed the themes to emerge rather than looking for specific occurrences. The beginning sections focus on the history of hip hop music, Black women in media and hip hop culture, hyper-masculine blackness, before reviewing key points in Black feminist thought. The top twenty hip hop songs from 2016 were studied lyric by lyric and coded into various themes resulting in three main areas of study: Formation of Black Femininity, Hyper-Masculine Blackness, and Foundations of the Hip Hop Community. These areas are specifically connected to the history of both the hip hop and Black communities. Following the analysis of lyrics, the real messages portrayed in hip hop will be discussed and what these messages could potentially mean for the hip hop community presently and going forward.