Black Masculinity and Hip Hop Music

Rap artists can have some strange videos and sometimes those videos can be an extension of expression.  While black masculinity is being commodified by these big media corporations, there is still a great deal of self-construction in their music videos.  Balaji (2009) gives the example of UGK and Outcast’s “International Players’ Anthem” which juxtaposes black men as pimps and black men as husbands.  Portions of the song are all about commitment and stability while other parts are all about being free from that same commitment.

Andre 3000 is wearing a quilt which plays around with black male masculinity which is a major theme of mainstream rap music (Balaji, 2009).  By wearing it he is constructing himself as something other than a hyper masculine black rapper.

It really reminds me of the artist Drake.  According to his bio, Drake was born in Toronto, Canada and he comes from a mixed lineage family and was raised Jewish.  Although the majority of his videos fit the stereotypical representation of black men there is one particular video were he is at his own bar mitzvah.  His black heritage and jewish heritage clash along with his new rap lifestyle. The video compares footage of his “old bar mitzvah” and his “new bar mitzvah.”  As a result, you get a video that flips a traditional coming of age ceremony on its head.  Drake excepts his heritage and shows its new place in his life, as a part of his culture just like the music he makes and the people he surrounds himself with.

Balaji, Murali. 2009. Owning black masculinity: the intersection of cultural commodification and self-construction in rap music videos. Communication, Culture & Critique 2, (1): 21–38.

Black Masculinity and Hip Hop Music

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