Publication Date

5-2015

Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

3-18-2015

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis - Boise State University Access Only

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication

Department

Communication

Major Advisor

erin d. mcclellan, Ph.D.

Advisor

Manda Hicks, Ph.D.

Advisor

John G. McClellan, Ph.D.

Abstract

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.

Share

COinS