The hiphopification of pop: hip hop aesthetics in mainstream popular music

This is the script of a paper I gave at the Royal Musical Association 58th Annual Conference, hosted by the University of Durham, on 8 September 2022. Introduction Hip hop is the most popular genre of music in the United States, with a comparable lead in the UK and Europe. Since the mid-2010s, Nielsen Music, … Read more

How do rap lyrics address the internet?

How do rappers address the internet? I’ve identified five broad trends: embracing the internet as an educational and performative space; dismissing social platforms as fake, inauthentic places of activity (usually contrasted with a ‘real’, ‘offline’ life); viewing the web as an arena for confrontation or disrespect, often mockingly so; using social networking sites to pursue or maintain sexual relationships; and criticising the internet as a source of privacy violations or producing negative psychological effects. As an introductory analysis, this look at how song lyrics implicate online practices, digital technologies, and specific platforms enables a clearer picture of artists’ and listeners’ contextual understandings of the internet and its place in everyday social life.

Beats, Online, and Life: lofi hip hop during COVID-19 (part 2)

For the first post on lofi hip hop before and during COVID-19, please see here. Lofi as a genre, and its antecedents To what extent can lofi hip hop be considered a genre, and to what extent do its producers, curators, and listeners participate in a virtual community? At present, there is a broad understanding … Read more

Beats to Quarantine to: lofi hip hop during COVID-19 (part 1)

Illustration by Juan Pablo Machado

Introduction In the past, I have joked that I do not trust anyone whose YouTube suggestions do not include lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to. Since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, as we (privileged sheltered) have receded to our homes to continue day-to-day life, leisure, and work, we have adopted … Read more

Gendered Commentary on ‘WAP’ (Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion)

Cardi B WAP

Introduction This blog post examines YouTube comments on ‘WAP’, performed by Cardi B and featuring Megan Thee Stallion. The aim is to demonstrate some of the data collection and thematic analysis methods that inform the Digital Flows research project, so it can be considered a small pilot study of sorts. In what follows, I’ll introduce … Read more