Rap music is one of the core elements of Hip Hop culture. In this episode of the ‘Minds on Music’ musical lecture series, we dive into rap and its political statements throughout the years with Cultural and Media studies expert Kim Dankoor. She explains in what ways rap music reflects the political, social, and economic aspects of the places in which it is created.
It’s been a long way since Grandmaster Flash’s “Don’t push me ‘cause I am close to the eddgeee” (The message, 1982 – the first political rapsong) ‘till Lil Baby in 2020: ‘It's too many mothers that's grieving; They killing us for no reason’.
A lot is being said about rap -- it’s one of - if not the most - popular musical genres worldwide. Some say it’s too much about braggin’ and boastin’ or being too sexist, yet others point to the widely spread political messages of marginalized social groups standing up to the powers that be and the female MC’s contributions to important feminist movements.
In this lecture, Kim Dankoor focuses on ‘Artists with Attitudez’: political rap expression throughout the years. From a cross-sectional, political, social and economic perspective, she’s going to dive into the relationship between rap and politics, with examples from four eras: from Grandmaster Flash’s (also N.W.A, Ice-T, etc.) political messages via gangsta rap to feministic politics (e.g., Queen Latifah,Megan Thee Stallion), to Kendrick Lamar’s ‘modern’ political messaging in rap and, of course, to Black Lives Matters (Lil Baby).
Kim Dankoor holds a Master’s degree in Media & Culture from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. She is currently pursuing a PhD at Utrecht University, and she focuses on Hip Hop culture and media literacy.
Minds on Music
In our lecture series ‘Minds on Music’, we look at music from a alternative, scientific perspective. You can watch the previous edition where Femke Vandenberg reflects on the transition of live music to online music, focusing on the experience of the audience.