Reconstituting "the Message": An Exploration of Double Consciousness in Rap Artistry

Dissertation, Northwestern University (1995)
This project explores the rhetorical range and modes of invention utilized by rap artists in their arguments concerning social identity, self consciousness, and empowerment. My central thesis highlights the discursive legacy of W. E. B. Du Bois and African American artistic production and articulation. Du Bois' concept of double consciousness provides an interpretive frame for understanding and critiquing the terms set forth in rap music constituting notions of "blackness," "masculinity," "femininity," and "community." The dissertation is divided along generic distinctions in rap artistry: revolutionary nationalism, cultural nationalism, "gangsta" rap, and the female voice. Each rap genre is analyzed in terms that reveal its correspondence with double consciousness. As such, the rhetorical strategies that artists employ in their arguments and social commentary are interrogated in terms of how they re-claim, re-order, and refute Du Bois' early existential philosphy. In this way the project demonstrates a key process of rap rhetorical invention and situates rap discourse within a larger field of African American aesthetic inquiry and argument
Keywords Du Bois, W. E. B   Rap   African Americans   Popular music
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,865
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Decolonising African Management.Henk J. van Rinsum & Jan Boessenkool - 2013 - Philosophy of Management 12 (2):41-55.
On Du Bois’ Notion of Double Consciousness.Frank M. Kirkland - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (2):137-148.


Added to PP index

Total downloads

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes

Sign in to use this feature