Beyond the Music: An Investigation of the Political Effects of Rap Music

Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 28 Aug 2009

Date Written: 2009


There is very little empirical research completed on the connection of rap music and ideology. Similarly, the research on rap and gender or Black Nationalist ideology and gender are also lacking. Research on rap music usually focuses on rap as a form of information exchange or a comparison of rap listeners to supporters of specific ideologies. This paper considers the affect of rap music on the acceptance and support of Black Nationalist ideology while exploring the differences of this acceptance between women and men. With data from the 1993-1994 National Black Politics Study, I show that those who listen to rap and those who do not listen to rap music differ on their support of Black Nationalist ideology. Those who listen to rap are more supportive of Black Nationalist ideology. Among those who listen to rap, men are more supportive of Black Nationalism than women. This support is partially explained by the patriarchal nature of both rap and Black Nationalist ideology as well as the connections between Black Nationalist organizations and rap artists. I also demonstrate through experimentation that political rap increases support of Black Nationalism among Black listeners.

Keywords: rap, Hip Hop, experiments, political psychology, public opinion, Black politics, racial politics, American politics, culture and politics, Black Nationalism

Suggested Citation

Bonnette, Lakeyta, Beyond the Music: An Investigation of the Political Effects of Rap Music (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN:

Lakeyta Bonnette (Contact Author)

Georgia State University ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30302
United States
404-413-6197 (Phone)

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