Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Hip-hop - Psychological aspects, Hip-hop - Influence, Rap (music)-Psychological aspects, Young adults-Psychology, Power (Social sciences), Hip-hop, Empowerment, Young adults, Youth, Rap, Music


This qualitative study was developed to explore the role that hip-hop music plays in the lives of young adults and empowerment. The researcher was interested in clinical applications of hip-hop music to address high attrition rates of youth in traditional models of therapy. Although there is much literature on the topic of hip-hop music, there is less written about the role that hip-hop music plays in the development of an individual's sense of self and empowerment. The latter was the focus of this study. Twelve participants were interviewed in the Los Angeles area regarding their experience of listening to and being fans of hip-hop music. All participants were over the age of 18 and asked to reflect back on the role that hip-hop music had played at home, with friends, and for them emotionally. They were then asked to discuss how they currently use or could foresee using hip-hop music as an empowerment tool. Major findings of the study include the use of hip-hop as a cathartic and expressive medium, as a tool for anger management, as grounds for development of an alter-ego, as a connection to peers in a youth culture and as a pedantic tool for learning about the history of hip-hop as an empowerment tool for oppressed populations. Finally, the study revealed the role that hip-hop music plays in empowering young adults around matters of choice.




iii, 49 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 42-44)