Catherine Bwalya

The Construction of Hip Hop Culture going Popular: Sounds, Symbols & Sexiness

This dissertation will focus on hip hop culture and how it has revolved and become part of popular culture. In particular this study will look into the elements that make hip hop culture today, and explain how they tied in with popular culture themes. Furthermore the dissertation will explore ‘sound’, symbol’ and ‘sexiness’ as the current elements within hip hop culture, to discuss how identities, consumption and lifestyle are constructed to create or present a particular idea about hip hop culture. As this dissertation will focus on development made between hip hop and popular culture, it will also explore the issues regarding gender and sexuality within hip hop, however the main aim of this dissertation will be to understand the roles of ‘sound’ ‘symbol’ and ‘sexiness’ within hip hop culture. Using multimodal discourse analysis, as part of the methodology helped to explain and understand how the elements used within rap music videos construct specific ideas of the three elements. In addition the sound of hip hop identified the authenticity with sound, in contrast to past sound of hip hop. Whilst the symbol of hip hop involves identifying the style and interaction made with rappers, to show they sell a specific image. Then the sexiness of hip hop highlights the identities constructed through rappers, and also looks at the branding of hip hop today. Finally hip hop culture has become popular and certain themes are played out such as identity, consumption and lifestyle that all help to sell its popularity.