Document Type



Master of Arts


American Studies

First Adviser

Peterson, James B.


This work explores the newest generation of black male Hip Hop artist and how their work challenges hypermasculinity and hegemonic masculinity that so dominated gangsta rap of the 1990s and earlier cultural expressive forms like the black badman ballads of the 19th century. Through close readings of the work of artist such as Big K.R.I.T., J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, Lil' B and others I find that artist of this new generation are challenging normative masculinity by disturbing the binaries upon which hegemony and hypermasculinity rest. This is achieved in a broad fashion by entering liminal spaces that allow for the collapse of good and evil, men and women, and heterosexual and homosexual. More specifically these artists challenge normative masculinities by assuming female positionalities, challenging heteronormativity, and challengeing gangsta as authentic black masculinity. The result is that space is being made for emerging Hip Hop masculine subjectivities to be realized.