Shani Ali Smothers, B.A.Thesis Advisor: Matthew Tinkcom, Ph.D.
The hip hop movement originally grew out of the ranks of urban oppression inand around the New York City boroughs in the 1970s. The movement at that time usedmusic, dance, and graffiti art to challenge status quo values, institutions, and thedominant order over society. In this study, I propose that the movement of hip hop haschanged due to an ideological split manifesting within the culture. I hypothesize thatthe rap facet of the hip hop movement has divided and is traveling two extreme paths,one which maintains and reinforces the dominant order of society and one, whichcritiques this order. This divisiveness of hip hop is a result of the culture industries, butmoreover the hip hop community has allowed the movement’s original purpose, as anoutlet to critique society and politics, to be redirected. This study attempts to makesense of what has caused this division and the impact this now divisive movement hason listeners’ mentality, ideological preferences, and social and political engagement.Hip hop is an undeniable social force for youth, particularly urban youth. This musicalform exercises its force by shaping the identities, and furthermore the social character of its listeners. It grooms individuals, particularly youth to accept or reject their economic, political, and social conditions. The future path of the hip hop movement is