Abstract

This research compares representations of rap music with the self-reported criminal behavior and resistant attitudes of the music's core audience. Our database is a large sample of Toronto high school students (n = 3,393) from which we identify a group of listeners, whose combination of musical likes and dislikes distinguish them as rap univores. We then examine the relationship between their cultural preference for rap music and involvement in a culture of crime and their perceptions of social injustice and inequity. We find that the rap univores, also known as urban music enthusiasts, report significantly more delinquent behavior and stronger feelings of inequity and injustice than listeners with other musical tastes. However, we also find that the nature and strengths of those relationships vary according to the racial identity of different groups within urban music enthusiasts. Black and white subgroups align themselves with resistance representations while Asians do not; whites and Asians report significant involvement in crime and delinquency, while blacks do not. Finally, we discuss our findings in light of research on media effects and audience reception, youth subcultures and post-subcultural analysis, and the sociology of cultural consumption.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-7605
Print ISSN
0037-7732
Pages
pp. 693-722
Launched on MUSE
2010-02-07
Open Access
No
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