Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis - Campus Access


Sociology (SOCL)

First Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Limoncelli


This research explores gender construction in hip hop; I chose this focus because hip hop is one of the most widely consumed types of media, and because it has been an important part of movements for social and political change and racial equality. However, hip hop has also been a male dominated industry; consequently, it is often critiqued for the way it portrays and reinforces gender inequality. This project looks at underground hip hop, where female artists have increased in number, and presumably have more freedom to express new ideas. I ask: how do women in the underground hip hop challenge or reinforce traditional structures of gender present in mainstream hip hop? To answer this question, I conducted a content analysis of randomly sampled songs produced by underground female artists, along with their accompanying videos. Additionally, I conducted a quantitative analysis of gender involvement in content production, as well as streaming numbers. I found that female underground hip hop artists counteract the construction of gender in mainstream hip hop by displaying personal agency in both their content, and their role in the production of said content. They use this agency to display autonomy and control over economics, sexuality, and life experience through their own lenses of gender and race. The content these women produce, while proportionally a smaller segment of hip hop, contributes to the industry’s larger rhetoric, and may eventually shift the conversation within the industry, and within broader society due to hip hop’s role as a socializing agent.