How do rap lyrics address the internet? (Digital Flows)

May 7, 2021 | Blog

Hip-hop artists get a bad rap for writing about the same old things. Often, criticism is levelled at lyrics associated with materialism, consumerism, misogyny, drugs, and violence. Although these themes – and the racial, gendered, and class-based judgements involved in commentary on them – are important, complex topics of study, I want to draw attention to some under-examined but prevalent lyrical territory. Specifically, I am interested in how rappers address the internet. Of course, what with the intrusion of the internet into so many aspects of daily life, ways of writing about the web are diverse, but they can be divided into specific themes for analysis. Some of these are more enthusiastic about the effects of the internet on how we experience social lives, while others dismiss or outright disavow aspects of web-based activity. In any case, such analysis provides detailed insights into the aesthetics and politics of contemporary hip-hop, as well as revealing how popular musicians understand and negotiate articulations of digital culture…

Read Steve’s full article over at our project partner website, Digital Flows.