This Article explores the manner in which gangsta rappers, who are primarily young urban Black men, navigate the mass media and rap's commercialization of the gangsta image to continue to provide seeds of political expression and resistance to that image. While other scholars have considered the political nature of rap in the context of the First Amendment, this Article's approach is unique in that it is the first to explore such concepts through the lenses of Habermas' ideal public sphere and those of his critics. While many have written gangsta rap off as being commercially co-opted or useless given its misogyny, violence, and unbridled exhortation to material consumption, “political" expression, resistance and social commentary can still be found therein. This resistance and social commentary can be found when gangsta rap is analyzed within the broader framework of the public sphere, particularly given the invisibility and marginalization of Black men in much public space in America, and the entangled relationship between gangsta rappers, the market, and the mass media.
Akilah N. Folami,
From Habermas to "Get Rich or Die Tryin": Hip Hop, The Telecommunications Act of 1996, and the Black Public Sphere,
Mich. J. Race & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjrl/vol12/iss2/1