Hip hop’s hold over Top 100 albums, 2000–2020

The story of hip hop’s commercial success in the 21st century is one of a steady decline followed by a striking ascent. At the turn of the millennium, hip hop held a major presence on the charts, but never accounted for more than a sixth of the best-selling albums. By the end of 2020, hip … Read more

Towards an ethical model of social media data analysis for internet music studies

This is the script of a paper I gave at the conference Information Overload? Music Studies in the Age of Abundance, hosted online by the University of Birmingham on 8 September 2021. For more info, see the UKRI AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellowship Music and the Internet: Towards a digital sociology of music. Introduction Scholars … 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.

How Music Empowers publication

My book, How Music Empowers: Listening to Modern Rap and Metal is published today by Routledge (Taylor & Francis). This book was written before the Digital Flows project began, and will be of interest to hip-hop listeners and creatives, as well as popular music academics more generally. Here’s the blurb: How Music Empowers argues that … Read more

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

Introduction to the Project & Context

This 32-minute video is a recorded talk given in the UCC Department of Music (opening the academic year’s Speaker Series) on 22nd October 2020. It serves as an introduction to the project for an academic audience in music studies. The talk covers three things. First, it reviews how music scholars have approached the Internet in … Read more