Access to this thesis is limited to Boise State University students and employees or persons using Boise State University facilities.

Off-campus Boise State University users: To download Boise State University access-only theses/dissertations, please select the "Off-Campus Download" button and enter your Boise State username and password when prompted.

Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis - Boise State University Access Only

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication



Major Advisor

erin d. mcclellan, Ph.D.


Manda Hicks, Ph.D.


John G. McClellan, Ph.D.


Music provides a platform for personal expression while also containing the ability to persuade and influence. Hip-hop music has a growing reputation of being both explicit and revolutionary, often challenging existing social norms as part of its projected culture. While the American Dream narrative projects American culture as a universally attainable state, such a master narrative is simultaneously critiqued as a one-dimensional understanding of “success” that is more easily accessible for some people than others. I argue hip-hop culture fosters acts of resistance that challenge this master American Dream narrative by promoting an alternate conception of “success” accessible to a population often not included in the master American Dream narrative’s depiction of “success.” Through a close textual analysis of hip-hop artist Notorious B.I.G.’s song “Juicy” I show how an alternate Hip-hop American Dream narrative is created. Discussing this alternative American Dream narrative through the lens of cultural projection, I explain how Notorious B.I.G.’s song “Juicy” rejects the master American Dream narrative’s notions of “success” in favor of an alternative Hip-hop American Dream narrative that depicts black and lower-income Americans, in particular, as capable of succeeding in different terms. It further produces what I call a “pedagogy of hip-hop,” which challenges this alternative narrative of success to provide hip-hop culture with a version of success that goes beyond just “oppressing the oppressor.” Ultimately this analysis reveals a need to question both the one-dimensionality of the master American Dream narrative as a guide for a multi-dimensional America while questioning the wisdom of competing master narratives in hip-hop culture as helpful alternatives to the often perceived inaccessible notions of success most frequently referred to as “the” American Dream.