Senior Honors Theses

Publication Date



School of Communication


Communication Studies: Speech Communication


Communication, Music, History, Critical Theory, Society, Positive, Negative, Approach, Psychology, Rap, Pop Culture


Social and Behavioral Sciences


People have used music to tell stories and share ideas for ages, making it an influential means of communication (Delaney, 2007). Rap music in particular came on the scenes in the late twentieth century in New York and continues to be a popular form of expression into the 21st century (Blanchard, 1999). However, many remain divided on whether rap music should have a place in society. Some claim rap is harmful and promoting of violent lifestyles (Richardson & Scott, 2002). Others, however, believe rap is useful in education and counseling settings for promoting discussion about life choices (Silvera, 2015). These conflicting opinions will be examined in depth in this thesis leading into a more specific look at these viewpoints in the context of critical theory. Many critical theorists reject rap music, seeing it as demeaning and harmful while others have praised it for being a way to undermine society’s mistaken perceptions on sex and personhood (Mendoza, 2016). Research concludes that rap music has both positive and negative effects on society, making it important to understand both sides.