CSCR 21300 Hip-Hop Cultures

Introductory note

Because of the nature of hip hop culture, there will be a variety of different kinds of sources available. Some will be from the popular press; many from alternative sources; and others from scholarly or academic journals. You will need to examine sources that primarily consider its culture as well as those that focus on the music. Because hip hop was ignored by the mainstream for a long time and remains counter to it, special challenges exist when researching the topic. Although terms such as hip hop and rap music will be found, other terms associated with the culture may be more elusive, such as b-boys and mc'ing.

Periodical Databases

These are just a few databases out of many available to Ithaca College students to help you locate peridiocal articles and get started on the research for your project.
  • Ethnic Newswatch
    An index to newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native Americans, with full-text of the articles.
  • SocINDEX with Full Text
    The major indexing and abstracting tool for finding scholarly articles in sociology and cultural issues.
  • Diversity Studies Collection
    Covers a diversity of diversity topics related to social science, history and liberal arts. This collection explores cultural differences, contributions and influences in our global community.
  • Academic Search Premier
    One of several general and multidisciplinary periodical databases, especially good for current events and articles related to contemporary life.
  • Music Index (online)
    Although primarily an index for articles on classical music, other genres of music are included as well.
  • Alternative Press Index
    This is a database that indexes articles from periodicals you won't find in other sources. Unfortunately, this is an indexing service, rather than a full text database, and  many of the articles won't be immediately or quickly available.

Ethnic & Race Studies Journals

Browse over 300 Ethnic & Race Studies journals found online and available to Ithaca College students.


Research Oriented Websites.

The Hiphop Scholarship from the Hiphop Archive
Hip Hop Index: an overview of the history of hip-hop from the University of Illinois
Rap Dictionary: a select glossary of terms.
Recognize! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture: an online exhibit of photography, painting, graffiti art, film, poetry, and installation art.
ArtsEdge: The Poetics of Hip Hop: lesson plans and other materials related to hip hop, from the Kennedy Center.
The Evolution of Rap Music in the United States: written by Henry A. Rhodes from Yale, includes guidelines for teaching about rap music and hip hop.

Rap & Hip Hop Documentary Films

Hip hop immortals: we got your kids  (2004, 81 min.) DVD 3107
Hip-hop: beyond beats and rhymes (2006, 61 min.) DVD 3067
Letter to the president
(2004, 90 min.) [examines thirty years of political and social aspects of black youth and hip hop] DVD 3691
Rap: looking for the perfect beat DVD 409
The freshest kids (2002, 97 min.) [looks at the history and phenomenon of b-boys. ] DVD 3676
Hip hop poetry jam. (2002, 90 min.) [Vol. 1] DVD 905
Rhyme & reason  (1997, 93 min.) [explores the evolution of hip hop culture] DVD 3230
Hip-hop colony  (2007, 93 min.) [surveys Genge music, a blend of traditional music of Kenya with American hip-hop] DVD 5794
Sierra Leone’s refugee all stars (2005, 80 min.) [documents the journey of six displaced musicians who created a new sound blending African, reggae, and rap music] DVD 1238
Style wars (1983 [some material from 2002 included], 280 min.) [explores the culture of New York’s graffiti writers and breakdancers] DVD 348 CORE
Tongues untied (2007, 55 min.)  [experimental film exploring rap music, street poetry, and a gay  black lifestyle] DVD 3633
Tupac: resurrection (2003, 113 min.) DVD 3106
Tough guise: violence, media, and the crisis in masculinity (2002,105 min.) DVD 277
Do you speak American? (2005, 171 min.) [In this three part documentary on language, episode One includes a segment on hip hop] DVD 2458
Welcome to Death Row (2001, 104 min.) [depicts the rise and fall of a rap music record label] DVD 3105

Contact Us

picture of John Henderson

John Henderson

Social Sciences Librarian
(607) 274-1961

Call number areas

ML3479 : Popular Music - African American
ML3556 : Ethnic Music - African American
E185.86 : African Americans - Social Life

Reference Books

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. 2d edition. Macmillan, 2006. Electronic book.

You'll have to come into the library to access the following:
Bynoe, Yvonne. Encyclopedia of rap and hip-hop culture. Greenwood Press, 2006. ML102.R27 B96 2006
Mickey Hess, ed. Hip hop in America : a regional guide. Greenwood Press, 2010. ML3531 .H47 2010
McCoy, Judy. Rap music in the 1980s: a reference guide, Scarecrow Press, 1992. ML128.R28 M3 1992
The African American encyclopedia. 2d edition. Cavendish, 2001. E185 .A253 2001