"Fuck Bitches, Get Money" : Discursive assertions of masculinity and sexual orientation in hip-hop lyrics
Abstract: This essay investigates how male hip-hop artists assert different masculine identities in their song lyrics. The study considers songs released by American, male hip-hop artists during a 20-year time span, 1990-2010. The 20-year period has been divided into four periods spanning five years each, i.e., 1990-1995, 1995-2000, 2000-2005, and 2005-2010, and songs from best-selling artists during these periods have been chosen. A total of 8 artists are considered in this study, representing 12 songs comprising the data. By focusing on the lexicon of the song lyrics, I show how three recurring heterosexual masculine identities are discursively constructed: the male artist as a womanizer, a misogynist, or a homophobe. I furthermore show how these identities are not mutually exclusive, but can rather co-exist and in this way contribute to an unmistakable alpha-male identity. Finally, the diachronic aspect of the data collection methodology enables an additional investigation of the evolution of identity construction in hip-hop, such that prevailing trends in the early 1990s can be compared to trends evident in the current hip-hop scene.
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