Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Ruth O'Brien

Subject Categories

American Politics | Other Music | Political History | Social History | United States History


Hip Hop, New York City, South Bronx, Hip Hop Politics, Racial Politics


This thesis examines the emergence of the Hip Hop movement in the 1970s in areas of New York City often referred to more generally as the South Bronx. Focusing mostly on the 1970s and 1980s, this thesis explores the underlying conditions that Hip Hop was born out of. Influenced by both global and national politics, Hip Hop provided a common space for underrepresented individuals and groups to unify, create common identities, and liberate themselves from the oppressive norms and political activity of a rich, mostly white, and dominant American society that tried to erase or silence them. This revolutionary aspect of Hip Hop politics will be argued and explained, but it does not tell the whole story. This thesis also argues that while Hip Hop fundamentally has revolutionary potential, that potential in practice is ultimately stiffened by its existence as a commodity within late capitalism.