Abstract

In response to the question, Does rap bear any “social message,” Ice Cube was careful to make a distinction between the occasions when rappers are “just having fun” and when they are performing a more serious “social message.” “Gansta rap” or “reality rap” are self-conscious performances of the complexities and commodifications of black male identity in America. Gangsta rap, the most theatrical style of rap, comments on the place of black masculinity in the American value system, and imagines alternative spaces where the power structures may be redefined.

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