Brotherly Love: Homosociality and Black Masculinity in Gangsta Rap Music
- Matthew Oware
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Hip hop, specifically gangsta rap music, reflects a stereotypical black masculine aesthetic. The notion of a strong black male—irreverent, angry, defiant and many times violent—is pervasive in gangsta rap music. This badman trope, as characterized by Robin Kelley (1996), oftentimes encompasses hypermasculinity, misogyny, and homophobia. It should come as no surprise that this genre of rap music is rife with sexist themes and lyrics. Yet, what has not been fully explored are the progressive ways that male rappers express themselves towards others considered comrades or “homies.” Homosociality (Bird 1996; Sedgwick 1995), non-sexual positive social bonds, exists in gangsta rap music between men. This study explores the notion of homosociality in this genre of music, analyzing the lyrics of male rap artists who have sold one million or more of their compact discs, for a total of 478 songs. I attempt to further unpack the idea of hegemonic black masculinity, presenting an alternative understanding of its deployment and manifestation in this music.
- Adams, T., & Fuller, D. (2006). The words have changed but the ideology remains the same: misogynistic lyrics in rap music. Journal of Black Studies, 36, 938–957. CrossRef
- Anderson, E. (1990). Streetwise: race, class, and change in an urban community. Chicago University of Chicago Press.
- Anderson, E. (1999). Code of the street: Decency, violence, and the moral life of the inner city. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
- Bird, B. (1996). Welcome to the men’s club: homosociality and the maintenance of hegemonic masculinity. Gender and Society, 10, 120–132. CrossRef
- Chang, J. (2005). Can’t stop won’t stop: A history of the hip hop generation. New York: Picador.
- Chang, J. (2006). It’s all one. In J. Chang (Ed.), Total chaos (pp. 198–208). New York: Basic Civitas Books.
- Cole, J., & Guy-Sheftall, B. (2003). Gender talk: The struggle for women’s equality in African American communities. New York: One World.
- Collins, P. H. (2005). Black sexual politics: African Americans, gender, and the new racism. New York: Routledge.
- Flood, M. (2008). Men, sex, and homosociality: how bonds between men shape their sexual relations with women. Men and Masculinities, 10, 339–359. CrossRef
- Glassner, B. (2000). Culture of fear. New York: Basic Books.
- Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Doubleday/Anchor Books.
- Hill, M. (2009). Scared straight: hip-hop, outing, and the pedagogy of queerness. The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 31, 29–54. CrossRef
- Kelley, R. (1996). Kickin’ reality, kickin’ ballistics: Gangsta rap and postindustrial Los Angeles. In W. Perkins (Ed.), Droppin’ science: Critical essays on rap music and hip hop culture (pp. 117–158). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
- Kennedy, R. (2003). Nigger: The strange career of a troublesome word. New York: Vintage Books.
- Kimmel, M. (1994). Masculinity as homophobia: fear, shame, and silence in the construction of gender identity. In H. Brod & M. Kaufman (Eds.), Theorizing masculinities (pp. 119–163). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
- Kitwana, B. (2002). The hip hop generation: Young blacks and the crisis in African American culture. New York: BasicCivitas Books.
- Kubrin, C. (2005a). Gangstas, thugs, and hustlas: identity and the code of the street in rap music. Social Problems, 52, 360–378. CrossRef
- Kubrin, C. (2005b). I see death around the corner: nihilism in rap music. Sociological Perspectives, 48, 433–459. CrossRef
- Majors, R., & Billson, J. (1992). Cool pose: The dilemmas of black manhood in America. New York: Lexington Books.
- Massey, D., & Denton, N. (1993). American apartheid: Segregation and the making of the underclass. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- Morgan, J. (1999). When Chickenhead come home to roost: My life as a hip hop feminist. New York: Simon and Schuster.
- Neal, M. (2006). New black man. New York: Routledge.
- Ogbar, J. (2007). Hip hop revolution: The culture and politics of rap. Kansas: The University Press of Kansas.
- Oware, M. (2009). A “man’s woman”?: contradictory messages in the songs of female rappers, 1992-2000. Journal of Black Studies, 39, 786–802. CrossRef
- Perry, I. (2004). Prophets of the hood: Politics and poetics in hip hop. Durham: Duke University Press.
- Pritchard, D., & Bibbs, M. (2007). Sista’ outsider: Queer women of color and hip hop. In G. Pough, E. Richardson, A. Durham, & R. Raimist (Eds.), Home girls make some noise: Hip hop feminism anthology (pp. 19–40). Mira Loma: Parker Publishing, LLC.
- Rose, T. (2008). The hip hop wars: What we talk about when we talk about hip hop—and why it matters. New York: BasicCivitas Books.
- Schutt, R. (2004). Investigating the social world: The process and practice of research. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge.
- Sedgwick, E. (1985). Between men: English literature and male homosocial desire. New York: Columbia University Press.
- Sharpley-Whiting, T. (2007). Pimp’s up, ho’s down. New York: New York University Press.
- Watkins, S. (2006). Hip hop matters: Politics, popular culture, and the struggle for the soul of a movement. Massachusetts: Beacon Press Books.
- Wilson, W. (1996). When work disappears: The world of the new urban poor. New York: Knopf.
- Brotherly Love: Homosociality and Black Masculinity in Gangsta Rap Music
Journal of African American Studies
Volume 15, Issue 1 , pp 22-39
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- Black masculinity
- Hip hop
- Matthew Oware (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. DePauw University, 306 Asbury Hall, Greencastle, IN, 46135, USA