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English 160 &161: Introduction to Library Research

Researching Hip Hop

General Topics

  • Women in hip-hop
  • Stereotype in hip-hop
  • Genres of hip-hop (Gansta rap, Nerdcore, Alternative/ Conscious rap, Trap, Underground, etc.)
  • Economics of hip- hop
  • Politics and hip-hop
  • Fashion and hip-hop
  • Graffiti and hip-hop


  • How has the internet impacted the exposure of hip-hop music and culture?
  • Does the mixtape still have relevance in today’s society?
  • How has the role of women changed in hip hop since its inception?
  • Does nerdcore and other alternative forms of hip hop help or hurt hip hop culture?
  • Do TV shows such as Love and Hip Hop and Empire perpetuate stereotypes of hip hop?
  • How has social or political issues influenced hip hop music in the last 40 years?

All documentaries can be found in the database Kanopy (see above).

China Remix This short documentary explores China's burgeoning African entertainment industry through the lives of three African hip-hop artists who are trying to find success in the face of challenging labor and immigration laws in China's southeastern city of Guangzhou. The film follows the entertainers as they prepare for their shows, perform, and live their daily lives with their Chinese and African family members and friends.

Blacking Up The ambitious and hard-hitting documentary BLACKING UP looks at the popularity of hip-hop among America's white youth. It asks whether white identification is rooted in admiration and a desire to transcend race or if it is merely a new chapter in the long continuum of stereotyping, mimicry and cultural appropriation? Does it reflect a new face of racial understanding in white America or does it reinforce an ugly history?

Fresh Dressed A fascinating chronicle of hip-hop, urban fashion, and the hustle that brought oversized pants and graffiti-drenched jackets from Orchard Street to high fashion's catwalks and Middle America shopping malls. Director Sacha Jenkins' music-drenched history draws from a rich mix of archival materials and in-depth interviews with rappers, designers, and other industry insiders.

Wild Style Wild Style follows the exploits of maverick tagger Zoro (real life graffiti artist Lee Quinones), whose work attracts the attention of an East Village art fancier (Patti Astor) who commissions him to paint the stage for a giant Rapper's Convention. A document of the earliest days of hip-hop in the boroughs of New York, everything in Wild Style is authentic - the story, style, characters, and most of the actors, are drawn from the community. It features a pantheon of old-school pioneers, including Grandmaster Flash, Busy Bee, The Cold Crush Brothers and more.

Search TIps

  • Phrase Searches- Search for phrases by placing quotation marks around the phrase. Words with quotes will appear together in all search results. Example: “hip-hop music”
  • Boolean Operators- Use AND or OR to specify multiple words in any field, any order. Use AND NOT to exclude words. Select the operator you wish to use from the drop down menu in the Advanced Search form. Example:  “hip-hop music” AND females OR women NOT men
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