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MEDIA REPRESENTATION OF RAP MUSIC: THE VILIFICATION OF HIP HOP CULTURE

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The main objective of this paper is to closely examine the public discourse about rap and hip hop related topics during the study period of 1995 to 2002. Through content analysis and metaphor analysis of a sample of articles taken from the New York Times, I argue that rap music and hip hop culture is represented negatively by mainstream media outlets thusly impacting public perception of the music. Though the content analysis findings show a trend of increasingly positive articles, the metaphors expressed throughout the study period highlight an underlying paradigm that places rap music in an oppositional category that threatens the “moral fabric”of the nation. Previous research seems to indicate with growing acceptance and popularity of any music genre there is a parallel decrease in negative coverage. It is evident that the social barriers for rap music are shrinking,however they have yet to disappear completely.
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MEDIA REPRESENTATION OF RAP MUSIC: THE VILIFICATION OF HIP HOP CULTURE
A Thesis
Submitted to the Faculty of the
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
of Georgetown University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of
Master of Arts
in Communication, Culture & Technology
By
Autumn B. Lewis, B.A.
Washington, DC
April 23, 2003
ii
MEDIA REPRESENTATION OF RAP MUSIC: THE VILIFICATION OF HIP HOP CULTURE
Autumn B. Lewis, B.A.
Thesis Advisor: Diana Owen, Ph.D.
ABSTRACT
The main objective of this paper is to closely examine the public
discourse about rap and hip hop related topics during the study period of
1995 to 2002. Through content analysis and metaphor analysis of a sample
of articles taken from the New York Times, I argue that rap music and hip
hop culture is represented negatively by mainstream media outlets thusly
impacting public perception of the music. Though the content analysis
findings show a trend of increasingly positive articles, the metaphors
expressed throughout the study period highlight an underlying paradigm that
places rap music in an oppositional category that threatens the “moral fabric”
of the nation. Previous research seems to indicate with growing acceptance
and popularity of any music genre there is a parallel decrease in negative
coverage. It is evident that the social barriers for rap music are shrinking,
however they have yet to disappear completely.
iii
“[Hip-hop] is now the most important musical idiom: What jazz was from the
1920’s to the 40’s, or rock n’ roll was from the 50’s to the 70’s, hip-hop has
been from the 80’s on” (Straus, 2000, April 6).
iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: Introduction…………………………………………………………… 1
Chapter 2: Theoretical Framework and Literature Review…………...………10
Chapter 3: Content Analysis………………………………………….………….24
Chapter 4: Metaphor Analysis…………………………………...………………51
Chapter 5: Conclusion……………………………………………………………61
References………………………………………………………………………...67
Appendix A: Coding Materials……………………..…………………………….71
Appendix B: Inter-coder Reliability ….……………………………………..…..81
Appendix C: Metaphors from Sample ……………………..………………..….82
1
Chapter 1: Introduction
The case of Tupac
On September 13
th
of 1996 Tupac Shakur died in a Las Vegas
hospital as a result of gunshot wounds sustained in a drive-by shooting.
Members of the hip hop generation around the world can tell you where they
were when they heard about Tupac’s death, much in the same way that baby
boomers can recall their exact location when President John F. Kennedy was
assassinated. I was just beginning my freshman year of college when I heard
the news. My resident advisor announced Tupac’s passing over the dorm
loudspeaker. There were no cries of grief, just stunned silence.
Many of the newspaper and magazine articles printed about Tupac
following the fatal shooting were not sympathetic to say the least. Numerous
journalists took the position that the shooting was prophetic if not deserved.
A journalist from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote, “Between visits to the
emergency room and promotional tours, Tupac usually [found] himself
serving extended stretches in the clink. When not feigning repentance,
Tupac [speculated] about why America’s criminal justice system [was] out to
get him” (Norman, 1996, September 10, p. B1).
Tupac Shakur was only twenty-six when he was murdered. He was a
poet and a budding actor, he was featured in several films. Tupac even had
2
the makings of a social activist. His most compelling works dealt with issues
involving the African American family. In the song, “Keep Ya Head Up,”
Shakur wrote:
To all the ladies havin babies on they own
I know it's kinda rough and you're feelin all alone
Daddy's long gone and he left you by ya lonesome
Thank the Lord for my kids, even if nobody else want em
Cause I think we can make it, in fact, I'm sure
And if you fall, stand tall and comeback for more.
The lyrics of the song are uplifting, especially for mothers struggling with the
burden of raising a child in a single parent household. Shakur spoke from
experience, the “product of a single parent home,” he often wrote about the
bitterness he felt about growing up without a father, a reality for a large
percentage of the Black population. Articles written about Tupac before and
after his murder rarely mentioned any of the positive political and social
messages in his songs. The articles generally focused on the controversial
and hence negative aspects of his lifestyle and lyrics.
Obituaries are generally biographical sketches that highlight or
celebrate an individual’s life. There was no celebration of life in the case of
Tupac. Of the countless perspectives that could have been used to tell his
life story, most journalists chose instead to frame the articles in a crime
3
discourse, common practice when reporting on rap artists. In an obituary
that appeared in The Guardian, Bennum (1996, September 16) reported,
“Although he sold millions of records in the United States, in this country
[England] he will be better remembered for his violent life and many run-ins
with the police” (p. 14). There is often a double standard in reporting of
criminal acts of artists. According to Chideya (1995) white musicians, “Don’t
face race based criticisms for committing crimes, and often avoid hitting the
front pages of the newspapers” (p. 150).
In recent history there have been dozens of non-rap artists who have
had “run-ins with the police” and yet the journalistic community at large does
not choose to frame their reports with crime discourse. For example, in 1990
lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Anthony Kiedis, was convicted of
sexual battery. Additionally, Axl Rose of Guns and Roses has been
convicted of various crimes over the years including, inciting a riot and
assaulting a neighbor. In 1994 his ex-wife filed a lawsuit alleging assault.
However, recent news reports on these artists seldom make a note of any of
these criminal acts (Chideya, 1995, p. 150). News stories about rap artists
rarely leave out any past indiscretions. Consequently media reporting on rap
music and rap artists is overwhelmingly negative.
4
Mainstream media and rap music
The prejudiced reporting of events related to rap music and
personalities is especially troubling because Hill (1998) has reasoned that
the mainstream media in a democratic post-industrial society assumingly
represents the collective conscious of the society. Understanding this, when
the constructed “we” is threatened by “otherness” negative reporting is the
logical outcome. Hip hop culture has historically been misunderstood and
consequently labeled as “otherness” (p. 105).
Even with the discussion and debate about rap music and hip hop
1
culture within popular media there is little academic writing about media
coverage of rap music. In totality there is not much scholarly research on rap
music as a whole. It is an area that has been largely ignored for several
reasons. Initially, the art form was thought to be a passing fad, and many of
its dissenters were just waiting for it to disappear.
Another reason for the lack of research is due to the fact that rap has
only recently become a mainstream phenomena. In the beginning it was a
cultural production available on the underground music scene, appealing
primarily to a subculture of Black youth. As rap has evolved and been
sustained over the years the audience has grown substantially, allowing rap
5
music to join the ranks of mainstream America. The music has spread to
suburban white middle-class America. Because of this migration journalist,
scholars and social researchers are beginning to take note.
Hip hop: Then and now
George (1998), stated in his groundbreaking book, Hip Hop America:
[Hip hop] is about the society-altering collision that has taken place
during the last two decades between Black youth culture and mass
media, about the discovery (and maybe hijacking) of Black youths as
creators and consumers (p. ix).
When rap first appeared in the late 1970’s, it was simply a new type of music.
Rap music grew to become a cultural movement with relatively fixed values
that George (1998) thought to be based on, “Its spirit of rebellion,
identification with street culture, materialism, and aggression” (p. 155). The
lyrical content of the songs has ranged from political messages inciting
violence against the police and the establishment, to catchy songs meant to
encourage listeners to dance.
Messages in rap songs have also incorporated positive messages
promoting self-improvement and safer sex. However, the media selectively
exclude news frames that are truly positive when reporting on rap music.
1
I would like to note that while the terms ‘rap’ and ‘hip hop’ are not synonymous, for the
6
Whether the message is positive or not, the music has proved to be widely
appealing. Today rap music is a multi-billion dollar industry that has moved
from the outskirts to the mainstream. Rap’s appeal has migrated out of the
inner city and into the suburbs.
Until 1979, rap was an underground phenomenon, played on the
street corners, in the New York club scene and distributed by word of mouth
and crudely dubbed cassette tapes. In 1979 there was a notable
transformation of rap with the first commercial single released by
independent music entrepreneur Sylvia Robinson titled “Rappers Delight”
(Perkins, 1996, p. 9). By the early 1980’s the music started to move into a
more prominent position in popular culture. Rap music is now approaching
its third decade of existence. Like jazz in the early twentieth century, no one
would have believed that rap would become an old fixture in the music world.
It has outlived all predictions by those who have hated it, all the while
continuing to evolve and make an impression on new generations.
Hip hop has had a profound effect on the development of style and
tastes among today’s American youth. At the same time mainstream media
outlets have vilified hip hop culture. Hill (1998) reasons the media’s
response is located in the need for an explanation of social ills in a post-cold
purposes of this paper they will be used interchangeably. Hip hop is generally thought to be
a cultural movement, not a specific style while rap is a musical component of hip hop.
7
war era that lacks a true enemy (the article was written before the dawn of
the “war on terror”). Rap music and Black youth culture in turn become
scapegoats, dismissed and conveniently labeled as deviant (p. 104). Hill
argued:
…The vilification of Black youth in mainstream media’s initial effort to
comprehend rap music tells us much about how anxieties at the nexus
of race, class and generation difference continue to animate the story
world of American social relations (p. 104).
Research outline
The present chapter sites several examples of unbalanced
representation of hip hop (a cultural formation of which rap music is only one
component), by media outlets consequently setting the stage for subsequent
chapters. Throughout this paper, I will be exploring the following questions.
R
1
: To what extent are news items related to rap music negative,
neutral or positive?
R
2
: What are the dominant themes in the news stories related to
rap music?
R
3
: What are the major changes that took place in the reporting of
rap music from 1995 to 2002?
R
4
: What are the dominant conceptual metaphors in relation to rap
music and hip hop culture in the selected texts?
8
R
5
: Is there a shift in the dominant conceptual metaphors regarding
rap music hip hop culture in the selected texts from 1995 to
2002?
The main objective of this paper is to closely examine the public
discourse surrounding rap and hip hop related topics during the study period
of 1995 to 2002. In this thesis I argue that rap music and hip hop culture
(primarily a Black cultural production) are represented negatively by
mainstream media outlets thusly impacting public perception of the music.
The data shows that rap music is not immune to the negative and
stereotypical portrayal of marginalized minorities that mainstream media
outlets promulgate.
Chapter outline
Chapter 2 establishes the theoretical framework of the paper,
highlighting the body of literature on media and institutional responses to rap
music as well as representation of minorities by various institutions. Chapter
2 also presents the framework for the cognitive metaphor analysis process
employed in chapter 4.
Chapter 3 incorporates the quantitative section of this thesis. I have
gathered original data on reporting of hip hop related events through content
analysis of the New York Times. The data highlights an overall trend of
9
reporting that starts out as negative becoming increasingly neutral or positive
with the progression of time.
In chapter 4 I examine the use of figurative language and the
ramifications of its use in a sample of selected texts of hip hop related
articles from the New York Times. I employ contemporary cognitive
metaphor theory to the data set to identify patterns of metaphorical
expression. The prevalent negative metaphors indicate that even though
the content analysis data shows a shift towards more positive news, there
continue to be metaphors and cultural symbols used in the representation of
hip hop culture that negate the seemingly positive news.
In the final chapter, I compare my findings to those who have
conducted similar research. I also discuss the impact of the metaphors
represented in the articles and the impact of negative representation. I
conclude with suggestions for new ways of framing hip hop and rap related
articles printed by mainstream media outlets.
10
Chapter 2: Theoretical Framework and Literature Review
The hip hop generation
American culture cannot be discussed in recent history without taking
into account Black culture, an impressive accomplishment that Boyd (2002)
attributed to the influence of hip hop music (p. 15). At the same time, hip hop
maintains its roots as a Black cultural production while it operates on a global
scale, and is easily appropriated by different cultures. From Brazil to Japan
independent interpretations and consumption of rap are widespread (p. xxi).
Kitwana (2002) has defined the hip hop generation as the age group
of African Americans born between 1965 and 1984 (p. xiii). He calls the
formation, “Black American’s generation X” (p. 7). Kitwana argued that the
group defined the elements central to modern Black youth culture, a group
grounded in the common socializing experience or rap music, an expression
of hip hop culture. Due in large part to the commercialization, the
dimensions of hip hop culture in the twenty-first century have expanded to
include more than the fundamental expression of music. Hip hop culture can
be said to incorporate verbal language, body language, attitude, style and
fashion as well (Kitwana, 2002, p. 8).
The cohort of Blacks in this hip hop generation have the experienced
hip hop culture along side post-segregation disparities in education, housing,
11
employment, wages, and mortgage loan approvals. Despite these large-
scale social and political problems that affect a significant portion of the
population, these issues are not on the agenda of media outlets or public
policy makers. Kitwana reasoned the issues are not even a part of popular
discussion due to the prevalent view that African Americans are seen as the
problem, ”Whether criminalized in sensational crime reports or demonized as
the architects of America’s declining moral values” (p. xx).
Hip hop and crime
Before rap artists became mainstream phenomena, the common
representation of Blacks in news reports focused on poverty and crime (with
the occasional portrayal of the Black athlete which I will address later). This
is an important theoretical backdrop in that these representations have
carried on in reporting of hip hop and rap related events (Campbell, 1995, pp.
67-68).
Kitwana reasoned that rap music itself was not solely responsible for
transmitting negative representations of Black youth culture. Print and
television media have framed news pieces about rap music and hip hop
culture in a crime discourse. This crime discourse is nothing new; it is very
same discourse in which Blacks in general were framed before rap music
figures began to dominate the spotlight (p. 10).
12
Newspapers and other media outlets help promote a distorted view of
crime by reporting on violent crimes disproportionately. There are far more
non-violent crimes committed in the United States as a whole, but the
distorted media representation skews perception. (Messerschmidt, 1986,
51). Messerschmidt contended the construction of “the typical violent
criminal” is impacted by media representation, therefore, “It is young,
marginalized males, usually a minority, whom the public fears most and
considers the dangerous criminals” (p. 52).
Messerschmidt (1986) has asserted the idea that public perception of
criminality is not grounded in fact. Self-report studies and victimization
surveys show violent crimes are committed by a wider array of social classes
and races than are represented by prison populations (p. 53).
Messerschmidt reasoned:
Males from all social classes and races come into contact with the
criminal justices system for the same criminal behavior, [however]
young marginalized minority males are most likely to be arrested,
prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to prison for long terms (p. 53).
Consequently the criminal justice system along with media reporting act to
reinforce the belief that violent crime is the most important threat to social
order. Additionally marginalized minority males are widely held to be
society’s violent criminals (p. 54).
13
It seems that the sensationalism of crime reporting in the media has
reinforced the association of Blacks with criminal behavior. High
imprisonment rates also act to reinforce this belief. Media depiction functions
to intensify the belief through constant coverage of crimes containing Blacks
as perpetrators and victims of crimes. This same association is made when
rap artists are reported as having committed a crime. Even though the
percentage of rappers involved in criminal activity may be a small percentage
of the overall total, the coverage seems to insinuate that hip hop fans and
artists generally behave criminally (Kitwana, 2002, p. 79).
Rose (1994) examined the response of the media and other
institutions to rap music. She argued:
The way rap and rap-related violence are discussed in popular media
is fundamentally linked to the larger social discourse on spatial control
of black people (p. 125).
The pubic school system, media and police threatened by the rejection of
white middle-class standards voiced by Black urban youths attempt to frame
the economy of rap with a crime discourse. Rose suggested that the
perception is that African American youth are dangerous, “An element that if
allowed to roam freely, will threaten the social order; an element that must be
policed (p. 126). This is evident in the resistance of large venues to accept
14
rap concerts and the media interpretation of rap concerts and the “violence”
that occurs at concerts (pp. 124-125).
Hip hop and poverty
Hip hop music has transformed the conception of popular culture.
However, Kitwana observed the vehicle of hip hop music is paradoxical in
that it can be a platform for political activism and formation of new opinion
leaders as in the case of Chuck D the lead rapper of Public Enemy whose
songs were both political and controversial (p. x). However, rap has
functioned largely to increase the correlation of Blacks with poverty through
the, “[Celebration of] anti-intellectualism, ignorance, irresponsible
parenthood, and criminal lifestyle” (p. xi) in the lyrics.
Again the music is not solely to blame. Gilens (1999) has asserted
that media representation is an important social indicator because, “…News
coverage has a special significance as a cultural product because we know
that it not only reflects but also influences, public concerns and beliefs” (p.
133). Gilens found a blatant overrepresentation of Blacks in the portrayal of
poverty related stories on the news. It is important to note that when
sympathetic stories aired, especially during periods of general heightened
sensitivity to the poor, Blacks were very likely to be absent from the newscast
15
(p. 132). In reporting on rap music, a similar trend is apparent. Many of the
sympathetic stories on rap artists are delegated to white rap artists.
Media stereotyping
Campbell (1995) has noted the trend of reporting mostly negative
stories by media outlets. Campbell contended:
The commonsense selection process of news organizations often
dictates coverage of ‘negative’ minority news, while ‘positive’ stories
about progress and success in minority communities tend to be
shelved due to what journalist consider a lack of newsworthiness (p.
30).
There are a number of reasons to explain the overrepresentation of negative
news. Campbell argued that the commonsense explanation is the lack of
African Americans making the news. There are very few Blacks in editorial
and managerial positions, the powerful positions that make decisions about
what is news and what is not (p. 31).
Campbell (1995) also reported that there is a dual negative
stereotyping taking place in media. On one hand, Blacks are characterized
as what she calls the “savage sambo” (p. 68), a characterization that has
remained constant as far back as early vaudeville shows and films. The
“savage sambo” is generally reflected in the coverage of crimes. The other
16
stereotype places Blacks in a “minstrel-show style” (p. 68), which posits that
success is only acceptable in the entertainment arena. It is not threatening
for Blacks to be successful athletes or rappers. Such a portrayal may seem
positive at face value, but Campbell reasoned that the coverage was so
extensive that it took the place of news coverage that could possibly paint a
more accurate picture of American minorities (p. 68).
Kitwana (2002) has noted that the prevalent negative view of
minorities and specifically rappers and hip hop personalities lies not only in
the music and the media coverage but also in the response of opinion
leaders within the Black community. The considerable cultural achievement
is often dismissed as “ghetto culture” (p. 22). Kitwana has claimed:
Most of our parents, and especially civil rights leaders and community
activists, would rather ignore rap’s impact especially those lyrics that
delve into the gritty, street culture of the Black underworld-than
explore it’s role in the lives of hip hop generationers (p. 22).
There is a large generation gap between the civil rights and hip hop
generations. Many older adults cannot identify with the content of rap music
and choose to dismiss the music all together. Regardless, hip hop culture
has had a tremendous impact, both good and bad on an entire generation of
Americans.
17
Media influence and mainstreaming of rap
Dates and Pease (2000) spoke to the importance of media in the
formation of cultural identity. “Because [the media] reflect and transmit
society’s predominant values and ideology, mass media images help to
define the collective experience, shape social consciousness and serve to
legitimate current conditions” (p. 81). Negative representation of minorities
by such an important institution facilitates images that are accepted as
legitimate representations. These images consequently influence general
self-image in the case of minorities, as well as the image of the minority held
by those in the majority - whites.
Transnational media organizations and technological advances have
greatly increased the influence of media on the formation of cultural identity.
Kitwana has argued, “Media and entertainment such as pop music, film and
fashion are among the major forces transmitting culture to this generation of
Black American” (p. 7). It can be reasoned that this is true of this generation
of Americans as a whole, not a phenomena that solely affects Blacks. At the
same time this increased media influence along with the mainstreaming of
rap music has afforded Black youth culture more exposure than ever before.
Rap artists have become the dominant voice of the hip hop generation
(Kitwana, 2002, p. 10). Boyd stated:
18
With hip hop being so vocal so visible, so empowered though the
success that the culture has had, this becomes the dominant mode of
address and the primary way in which we can possible start to make
sense of how Blackness functions in the present (p. xxi).
The mainstreaming of rap also has implications based in racial politics.
Rose (1994) observed the origins of rap music and the message in the
experience of Black youth; however the music has proved to be appealing to
different races and nationalities. In the eighties, the audience of rap music
was predominately African American; however moving into the 1990’s the
audience expanded vastly, appealing to a larger audience (p. 4). According
to the Recording Industry Association of America, whites account for 60% of
the audience of rap music (Kelly, 1999, p. 1).
The focus of rap music on Black culture and marginal identities
appears to go against crossover appeal from those of differing ethnic groups
or social positions. Yet the public dialogue of rap music appears to speak to
millions of suburban young adults (this is evident by the sales) while
remaining committed to the emotional pulse of the Black community. This
juxtaposition is not a unique development when approached from a historical
perspective. Before rap, blues, jazz and early rock and roll became
American popular music through extensive white participation (Rose, 1994,
pp. 4-5).
19
Media coverage of rap music
In Hill’s (1999) original research on media coverage of Black popular
music, he analyzed articles about rap music found in the New York Times
from 1985 to 1990 (p. 105). Hill paralleled his findings to a 1987 study by L.
Williams of the content of the Times’ coverage of Black popular music,
namely Jazz during the 1920’s. He found that initially there was a negative
response to Jazz music by the media that was explicitly racist in that the
merits of the music were dismissed because the artists were Black.
William’s study found that media outlets began to increase coverage
and improve the tone of the articles as the popularity of the music began to
soar when Jazz gained international acclaim towards the end of the 1920’s.
Mainstream media initially focused only on white Jazz artists, it was much
later than the range of the study that Black artists were finally recognized for
their contributions (Hill, 1999, pp 103-104).
Hill’s research found scant and sporadic coverage of rap music in the
early years of his study period, from 1985 to 1987. Even so, the Times had
already begun vilification of the art form with mostly negative articles that
were hard news articles on violence at rap concerts. As the years
progressed the coverage seemed to become increasingly positive,
recognizing rap as a part of a complex cultural movement (pp. 107-108).
20
Hill’s research findings demonstrated a shift in focus away from
articles about violence at concerts beginning in the 1990’s. Coverage was
much more extensive as hip-hop music and the politics associated with the
music became familiar with white suburban youth. The biggest hip-hop
related story in 1989 and the early 1990’s centered on censorship issues
surrounding the 2-Live Crew obscenity trial. When the trial began the articles
focused on the details of the trial, but as time went on the Times began
reporting on censorship issues in general (p. 110).
Overall, there was favorable coverage of censorship related articles,
as the Times did not support censorship. Hill’s research showed a trend
towards more favorable or positive reporting in the Times during the six year
study period (p. 112). The quantitative portion of this research project
represented in chapter three will in effect pick up where Hill’s original
research left off. Through an exploration of the media coverage of rap and
hip hop music from 1995 to 2002, I will be looking to see if the trends in the
coverage parallel Hill’s findings.
Metaphor theory
Metaphor is often conceived to be a literary device or a characteristic
of language simply representing words and not necessarily cognition or
action. Lakoff and Johnson (1980) refuted this commonly held belief and
21
found metaphor to be ingrained in everyday language, thought and activity.
More importantly Lakoff and Johnson suggested that ordinary conceptual
systems are metaphoric, by extension showing that daily experiences are
governed by metaphor (p. 3). Drawing on Lakoff and Johnson, Santa Ana
(2002) asserted, “Metaphor, above other structures of language, establishes
the basis of people’s everyday comprehension of life” (p. 48).
Consequently, patterns of language use can be used to “map the
territory of our cognition, both in the culture at large and of the individual”
(Simpson, 1996, p. 3). Cognitive science research involves analyzing
patterns of language to identify conceptual metaphors, a mental map
between semantic domains (p. 3). In large this system presupposes that
language is secondary and mapping is of primary importance.
Simpson defines a cognitive metaphor as, “…Any instance of
someone explaining or considering one experience in terms of another
experience” (p. 3). This definition of a “cognitive metaphor” incorporates
analogy, simile, metonymy, polisemy, dead and conventional metaphors, as
well as poetic and novel metaphor (p. 4)
Simpson contended that metaphor analysis is not a process that
should attempt to extract obscure meaning. By using this method the intent
is to identify the intended usage of the writer, “the conceptual metaphor
model offers an explicable line between what interpretation can be supported
22
by the text, and what interpretation is an extension into speculation and
probability” (p. 7).
Santa Ana’s (2002) research substantiated the basic concepts that
ground cognitive science research. His schematic language mapping
supported the idea that public opinion of the social sphere is largely a
metaphoric construction (p. 9). Through analysis of metaphoric expressions
used to refer to Latino’s on political issues targeting their community in public
discourse, Santa Ana was able to pin point the social values that support
linguistic expression (Santa Ana, 2002, p. 48).
Santa Ana gathered a natural language data set through a content
analysis of the Los Angeles Times. He cataloged metaphors related to public
opinion documented during the passage of the California Initiatives:
Proposition 187, Proposition 209 and Proposition 227 (p.54). Santa Ana’s
research confirmed, “Metaphor and other associated figurative language
used in daily discourse of social issues can be studied to reveal the values
underlying social order” (p. 21).
Drawing upon cognitive science research and Santa Ana’s
groundbreaking study, I have gathered a data set of cognitive metaphors
related to rap and hip hop events represented in my content analysis of the
New York Times. I will not make the claim that the metaphors expressed in
my sample of the New York Times represent a “principle unit of hegemonic
23
expression” (Santa Ana, 2002, p.9), as Santa Ana’s precise methodology led
him to that conclusion. I simply do not have the means or the time in the
scope of this project to draw a truly representative sample. I will be looking
for trends or changes in the different types of cognitive metaphors expressed
in the articles.
24
Chapter 3: Content Analysis
My content analysis of print media is centered on The New York
Times’ coverage of hip-hop culture and rap music from 1995 to 2002, picking
up where Patrick Hill's research stopped off. The text of the New York Times
newspaper is an important source because it is not only the United States’
newspaper of record and an influential venue for public discourse, but New
York is also the birthplace of rap music. Santa Ana (2002) believed mass
media in general to be, “The single most influential source of the public’s
daily comprehension of changing social climate” (p. 49), Media are cultural
gatekeepers, in that they structure our exposure to particular cultural
phenomena.
This chapter examines hip-hop and rap related news and editorial
items appearing in the printed New York Times Index in the music section. It
is important to note that portions of the Times Index for 2002 were
unavailable at the time this research was conducted, therefore I gathered a
representative sample through a Lexis Nexus search using the terms ‘rap’ or
‘hip hop’. I chose to use both terms because the New York Times often uses
the terms interchangeably and I wanted to be sure to capture the range of
articles that would normally appear in the printed Times Index.
25
The data set I collected yielded 224 news articles. The article is my
unit of analysis for the study. I classified each piece of news into three
categories (see appendix A for code book and coding forms):
1. News themes - issues related to violent events at concerts or rap
venues, rap’s popular appeal, censorship/law, or types of rap.
2. News type - hard news, features, editorials, letters, and concert
and album reviews.
3. Main actors in news – hip-hop personalities who become subjects
of the news.
After categorizing each news item I rated whether it was positive,
neutral or negative in overall tone. Coding for tone is challenging for all
content analysis as it is a somewhat subjective practice . In order to
minimize bias I followed Berelson’s content analysis guidelines in which the
categorization is defined to determine article direction.
2
Negative news as
defined by Berelson generally depicts social conflict, disorganization or
crime, while positive news shows social cohesion and cooperation. Neutral
news shows neither conflict nor cohesion.
For example it was reported by the Associated Press that the rapper
DMX was arrested for possession of illegal weapons (1999, July 2). After
reading the article, I categorized the story as a negative news piece of a
26
main actor in the news. An example of a positive news piece appeared in
the Times headlined, “Hip-hop is enlisted in social causes” (2002, June 22).
The article discussed the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, a federation that
brings together various rap and hip hop related groups with different agendas
in order to lobby and voice concerns about restrictions on hip-hop music. I
categorized this piece as positive news theme item.
I performed reliability tests to verify that the coding of the articles was
not biased by my personal feelings about rap music. I had another trained
coder analyze a 20 percent sample of the articles from the eight years. A
correlation test to determine inter-coder reliability supported an acceptable
degree of correspondence between the assigned scores. The average score
of the inter-coder reliability test was .903, meaning that our assigned scores
were the same about 90 percent of the time, an acceptable reliability value
for the social sciences. The coder and I conferred about the discrepancies
and developed a consensus about decision rules, which I employed
throughout the process.
This section will address the following set of research questions:
R
1
: What are the dominant themes in the news stories related to rap music
.
R
2
: To what extent are news items related to rap music negative, neutral or
positive?
2
Based on content analysis guidelines developed by Barnard Berelson (1974).
27
I will be looking to support the following hypotheses with the statistical
data collected:
H
1
: There is a negative correlation between news theme and the overall tone
of the news articles from 1995 to 2002.
H
2
: There is a statistically significant negative correlation between news
theme items and main actor and negative tone.
H
3
: There is a statistically significant positive correlation between news type
items and neutral tone.
28
Dominant themes
1995
The reporting by the New York Times on rap music in 1995 was
overwhelmingly negative as seen in Figure 1 below:
Figure 1
Overall Tone of News in 1995
Overall Tone of News in 1995
NegativeNeutralPositvie
Percent
80
60
40
20
0
In general, the stories focused on themes related to censorship. Beginning
in May, when Bob Dole began to attack rap music because he believed the
music destroyed family values (even though he had never heard a rap song),
a political landmine exploded. For example a few of the Times headlines
were, “Lyrics from the gutter” (1995, June 2); “G.O.P. Gangsta Rap” (1995,
June 11); “A defender of Gangsta Rap dismissed at Warner Music” (1995,
29
June 22); “Label tied to Time Warner sues a critic of rap lyrics” (1995 August
16).
There were very few artist profiles or album reviews in the sample of
articles from 1995. The majority of the articles in the Times depicted conflict
and turmoil over the distribution of “gangsta” rap music by Interscope records
a division of Time Warner Inc., the largest distributor of rap music during the
late 1990’s. There was so much media pressure on Time Warner that by the
end of the year, they sold back their 50 percent of Interscope to its original
owners.
1996
The controversy over ‘gangsta’ rap continued into 1996, only to loose
steam because of the declining popularity of gangsta rap. Amidst the
controversy and hype surrounding the genre the Times noted that genre was
slowly loosing its black audience and becoming less popular. Some
headlines were, “Can rap move beyond gangstas?” (1995, July 28); “How
long can rap survive?” (1996 September 22).
Additionally, the gangsta rap story line was overshadowed by the
murder of rapper Tupac Shakur in late September. His murder, however,
brought about a new round of negative stories about the violence glorified by
rap music and how it translated into real life violence made evident by the
30
Tupac’s violent murder. For example some of the headlines were, “Rap
stars’ death highlights harsher reality” (1996, September 18) and “Dying to
be Black” (1996, December 9).
The news articles that did not focus on Tupac were generally hard
news items including several concert and album reviews. The stories were
nearly evenly split, 40 percent of the articles where news theme and 43
percent of the articles were news type stories as shown in Figure 2 below:
Figure 2
Overall Theme 1996
Overall Theme of News in 1996
Main ActorsNews TypeNews Theme
Percent
50
40
30
20
10
0
Looking at Figure 3 below, about one third of the stories were negative news,
but there was a better balance than in the previous year in which two thirds
of the stories were negative.
31
Figure 3
Overall Tone 1996
Overall Tone of News in 1996
NegativeNeutralPositive
Percent
50
40
30
20
10
0
1997
Rapper, Christopher Wallace, who went by the moniker the Notorious
Big or Biggie Smalls, was murdered in a drive-by shooting six months
following the 1996 death of Tupac Shakur. The majority of the stories during
the first half of the year were related to Christopher Wallace and
comparisons between Shakur and Wallace’s untimely deaths. Article
headlines were, “Rapping, living and dying a gangsta life” (1997, March 10)
and “Swaggering in deaths face till the end” (1997, March 30). In the third
quarter of the year a trend of focusing on neutral hard news rather than
issues related to news themes began to emerge. Figure 4 below shows the
distribution of article types.
32
Figure 4
Overall Theme 1997
Overall Theme of News in 1997
Main ActorsNews TypeNews Theme
Percent
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
1998
Because of the growing popular appeal of the music, an increasing
number profiles and interviews began appearing in the Times. Below in
Figure 5 it is easy to see that the majority of articles in 1998 were news type
articles, including interviews, reviews and profiles.
33
Figure 5
Overall Theme 1998
Overall Theme of News in 1998
News TypeNews Theme
Percent
100
80
60
40
20
0
In 1998 rap album sales were growing and artists were beginning to
become icons in the music world. The Times referenced several articles
related to new hybrid forms of rap music like rap-metal and trip hop. Rap
metal is a genre made popular by Kid Rock, a fusion of heavy metal music
with rap styled vocals. Trip hop is extremely popular in Europe and is best
described as a blend of hip hop, techno and reggae. Some headline
examples were, “Ditching rap for more hardcore metal” (1998, October 23)
and “Trip-hop reinvents itself to take on the world” (1998, October 25). The
Times began to shift focus to some degree recognizing the range and
diversity of the music instead of narrowly focusing on commercially
successful types of rap.
34
1999
In 1999 I found only thirteen articles related rap and hip hop in the
Times, which is the smallest number of articles in any of the 8 years
sampled. By the late 1990’s, rap artists were touring more heavily than they
had in the recent years, because promoters and venues realized that the rap
audience had grown substantially. Consequently, there were two negative
articles about violent events related to rap concerts. There were also a
number of in-depth profiles of rap artists and articles about underground or
non-commercial rap. As Figure 6 below shows, the majority of the news
focused on news types stories including interviews and profiles of artists as
well as concert and album reviews.
Figure 6
Overall Theme 1999
Overall Theme of News in 1999
Main ActorsNews TypeNews Theme
Percent
50
40
30
20
10
0
35
2000
From 1996 to 1999 there was a steady decline in the number of
stories related to rap music reported by the Times. In 2000 there was a
considerable increase in coverage. In 1999 there were thirteen articles
compared to 2000’s, twenty-two articles (Figure 7 below). This parallels the
largest period of sales growth in rap music history. In 2000, rap sales
increased by ten percent, a larger increase percentage than any type of
music (Huges 2002). A large percentage of the audience for rap music were
(and continue to be) white suburban teenagers. I believe the jump in
coverage can be directly linked to the growing white audience.
Figure 7
Totals
Overall Theme
of News in
1999
Overall Tone
of News in
1999
Overall Theme
of News in
2000
Overall Tone
of News in
2000
N Valid
13 13 22 22
There are three of stories about underground hip hop artists and how
these groups stand in opposition to the mainstream rap. Jon Parales, a
senior Times staff member commented that groups like the Roots are
“Influential critics of gangsta rap….Determined to redefine real hip-hop as
something more expansive, intelligent and uplifting that the current best-
selling clichés of gunplay and raunch” (2000, October 14). It is interesting
36
that even in articles that promote one genre of music as a positive, they do
so while disparaging another.
The popular appeal of rap music is a reoccurring topic in the articles
as well. The emergence of white rappers as a viable and marketable is
evident in several articles about Eminem, a phenomenally successful rapper
from Detroit that has since sold millions of albums. The controversy over the
content of Eminem's songs is yet to emerge. Figure 8 below shows that
roughly fifty percent of the news articles in 2000 were neutral, closely
followed by negative articles accounting for nearly 40 percent.
Figure 8
Overall Tone of News in 2000
Overall Tone of News in 2000
NegativeNeutralPositive
Percent
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
37
2001
In February 2001 an article titled, “Hearing the Voices of Hip-Hip,”
written by black music critic, Kelefa Sanneh, then deputy editor of Transitions
Magazine, appeared in the Times. Sanneh wrote a few articles about hip
hop and rap and she would eventually join as a full time staff writer in 2002.
Another important change in reporting on rap and hip hop music took
place at the end of the year. Previously, reviews of rap or hip hop concerts
and albums fell under the headline, Pop Review. An article reviewing a Wu-
Tang Clan album in December of 2001 appeared in the Times under the
headline Hip Hop Review in the Leisure and Arts section. This change in
headlines represents an acknowledgement by the Times that hip hop is an
entity separate from pop music.
In 2001 the articles were overwhelmingly negative as Figure 9 below
demonstrates. This data might be slightly skewed because rapper DMX was
arrested several times and there are six articles related to his arrests and trial
proceedings. Additionally, there were many negative articles surrounding the
controversy over Eminem’s lyrics. Senneh referred to Eminem as , “The
white rapper whose repugnant lyrics have offended both social activists and
social conservatives” (2001, February 9). His offensive lyrics would not have
been such a big issue had the album not been the top selling album of 2000
nominated for nominated for several Grammy awards. Many of the articles
38
in 2001 were editorials and letters that highlighted the social conflict
surrounding Eminem.
Figure 9
Overall Tone 2001
Overall Tone of News in 2001
NegativeNeutralPositive
Percent
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
2002
The major story of 2002 was the murder of Jam Master Jay, DJ of the
pioneering rap group Run DMC. There are eleven stories related to the
murder ranging from hard news to feature stories. It is interesting that the
articles are generally much more neutral or even positive when compared to
the articles written several years ago in relation to the unsolved murders of
Tupac and Biggie. The mainstream media saw Jam Master Jay to be
outside of the violent lifestyle promulgated my many rap artists, and thusly
were shocked by his violent death.
39
Jason Mizell known by his stage name Jam Master Jay was the D.J.
for of the pioneering rap group Run DMC, the first rap group to become a
household name in the 1980’s. Parales observed that Mizell’s murder
shocked the rap community because, “[It was] someone who’s older and
respected, and was in a different place in life from other artists who have met
fates like this” (2002, November 1).
In 2002 the majority of the articles were news type articles (see Figure
10 below) Most of the articles were concert and album reviews. I contribute
this directly to the staff writer, Sanneh, who was responsible for articles
related to rap and hip hop as well as the majority of the Hip Hop Reviews.
Figure 10
Overall Theme 2002
Overall Theme of News in 2002
Main ActorNews TypeNews Theme
Percent
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
40
Statistical analysis
Figure 11 below details the descriptive statistics for the type of article.
In Figure eleven the value “1” was assigned to “News Theme” articles, “2”
assigned to “News Type” articles and the value “3” to “Main Actors in News”.
The mode represents the number that occurs most frequently in a set of
numbers. The Figure above shows that “News Type” articles dominated the
sample each year with the exception of 1997, in which there were more
“News Theme” articles than the other types of articles.
Figure 11
Descriptive Statistics
Overall Theme
of News in
1995
Overall Theme
of News in
1996
Overall Theme
of News in
1997
Overall Theme
of News in
1998
N Valid
30 35 25 20
Mode 2 2 1 2
Overall Theme
of News in
1999
Overall Theme
of News in
2000
Overall Theme
of News in
2001
Overall Theme
of News in
2002
N Valid
13 22 29 50
Mode 2 2 2 2
41
Figure 12
Descriptive Statistics
30 1 3 .675
35 1 3 .758
25 1 3 .663
20 1 3 .649
13 1 3 .760
22 1 3 .646
29 1 3 .728
50 1 3 .635
13
Overall Tone of
News in 1995
Overall Tone of
News in 1996
Overall Tone of
News in 1997
Overall Tone of
News in 1998
Overall Tone of
News in 1999
Overall Tone of
News in 2000
Overall Tone of
News in 2001
Overall Tone of
News in 2002
Valid N (listwise)
N Minimum Maximum Std. Deviation
Figure 12 above details the descriptive statistics for the article
direction. The tone of the article was assessed by assigning the value “1” to
negative articles, “2” to articles with a neutral direction, and the value “3” for
positive articles. The standard deviations are relatively high, but generally the
articles can be characterized as neutral, 1999 being the most negative year
and 1995 being the year with more positive news.
42
Multivariate Data Analysis
I originally entered the data into separate categories and attempted to
analyze each year separately. After close inspection, I realized that the data
would be more helpful if I were to look at the overall trends over the course of
the 8 years. I combined the data from each separate year into two variables
representing the overall theme of articles from 1995 to 2002 and the overall
tone of the articles from 1995 to 2002. Below Figures 13 and 14 are visual
representations of the combined values.
Figure 13
Theme from 1995 to 2002
Theme from 1995 to 2002
Main ActorsNews TypeNews Theme
Frequency
140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0
43
Figure 14
Tone from 1995 to 2002
Tone from 1995 to 2002
NegativeNeutralPositive
Percent
50
40
30
20
10
0
Hypothesis Testing
H
1
: There is a negative correlation between news theme and the overall tone
of the news articles from 1995 to 2002.
Figure 15 below shows that there is a statistically significant
correlation between news theme and tone significant at the p<. 05 level,
however the correlation is actually positive and not negative as I originally
predicted. My hypothesis is not supported. This indicates that news theme
articles between 1995 and 2002 can be characterized as overall neutral to
positive.
44
Figure 15
Correlations
1 .114*
. .044
224 224
.114* 1
.044 .
224 224
Pearson Correlation
Sig. (1-tailed)
N
Pearson Correlation
Sig. (1-tailed)
N
Theme from 1995 to 2002
Tone from 1995 to 2002
Theme from
1995 to 2002
Tone from
1995 to 2002
Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (1-tailed).
*.
H
2
: There is a statistically significant negative correlation between news
theme and main actor items and negative tone.
When looking at the contingency table (Figure 16 below) comparing
the theme and tone of all the articles from 1995 through 2002, it is evident
that within the news theme category, 48.7 percent of the articles have a
negative tone. More convincingly 77.4 percent of all main actor type articles
fall into the negative category. The chi square test of statistical significance
(Figure 17 below) shows that the relationship is real and did not occur by
chance. The value is significant at the p<.05 level.
45
Figure 16
Theme from 1995 to 2002 * Tone from 1995 to 2002 Crosstabulation
13 26 37 76
17.1% 34.2% 48.7% 100.0%
40.6% 27.1% 38.5% 33.9%
5.8% 11.6% 16.5% 33.9%
18 64 35 117
15.4% 54.7% 29.9% 100.0%
56.3% 66.7% 36.5% 52.2%
8.0% 28.6% 15.6% 52.2%
1 6 24 31
3.2% 19.4% 77.4% 100.0%
3.1% 6.3% 25.0% 13.8%
.4% 2.7% 10.7% 13.8%
32 96 96 224
14.3% 42.9% 42.9% 100.0%
100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
14.3% 42.9% 42.9% 100.0%
Count
% within Theme
from 1995 to 2002
% within Tone
from 1995 to 2002
% of Total
Count
% within Theme
from 1995 to 2002
% within Tone
from 1995 to 2002
% of Total
Count
% within Theme
from 1995 to 2002
% within Tone
from 1995 to 2002
% of Total
Count
% within Theme
from 1995 to 2002
% within Tone
from 1995 to 2002
% of Total
News Theme
News Type
Main Actors
Theme from
1995 to 2002
Total
Positive Neutral Negative
Tone from 1995 to 2002
Total
Figure 17
Chi-Square Tests
26.143 4 .000
27.003 4 .000
2.917 1 .088
Pearson Chi-Square
Likelihood Ratio
Linear-by-Linear
Association
Value df
Asymp. Sig.
(2-sided)
46
H
3
: There is a statistically significant positive correlation between news type
items and neutral tone.
When looking at the contingency table (Figure 15 above) comparing
the theme and tone of the combined 1995 through 2002 variables it is
evident that there is indeed a statistically significant positive correlation. 70.1
percent of the articles are neutral or positive. Again the chi square test is
statistically significant at the p<.05 level (Figure 17).
Regression/correlation analysis
When the variables for all of the years are combined it is difficult to
see if there is an overall trend towards increasingly positive news. Plugging
the variables into a regression analysis model controlling for the year
enabled a more in-depth look at the data I collected. Regression looks at the
mathematical relationship between dependent and independent variables
and can express causation mathematically.
I isolated each of the variables relating to the type of article; news
theme, news type and main actor controlling for the year, separating the
years comparing articles from 1995 through 1998 to articles from 1999
through 2002. Once the new variables were created I was able to isolate the
year, and the type of article as independent predictors of the tone of the
article.
47
Figure 18
Model Summary
b
.286
a
.082 .070 .677 1.717
Model
1
R R Square
Adjusted
R Square
Std. Error of
the Estimate
Durbin-W
atson
Predictors: (Constant), ACTOR, RYEAR, TYPE
a.
Dependent Variable: Tone from 1995 to 2002
b.
In the above Figure 18, the R square score is a statistical test that
explains variance. A score of .082 indicates that 8.2% of the variance of tone
is explained by the predictor variables, not a terrible finding when looking at
content analysis data. When conducting regression analysis it is important
that there be homogeneity of variance among the predictors. A Durbin-
Watson score of 1.717 is close to 2.0, indicating that there is a high degree of
homogeneity of variance.
Figure19
ANOVA
b
9.003 3 3.001 6.555 .000
a
100.711 220 .458
109.714 223
Regression
Residual
Total
Model
1
Sum of
Squares
df Mean Square F Sig.
Predictors: (Constant), ACTOR, RYEAR, TYPE
a.
Dependent Variable: Tone from 1995 to 2002
b.
The ANOVA model (see Figure 19 above) is used to analyze the
validity of the predictors. The model is significant at the p<.01 level,
48
indicating that the predictors; main actor, year, and theme, can be used to
predict the tone of the article.
Figure 20
Coefficients
a
2.401 .158 15.241 .000
-.059 .095 -.041 -.618 .537
-.158 .102 -.113 -1.556 .121
.443 .147 .219 3.019 .003
(Constant)
RYEAR
TYPE
ACTOR
Model
1
B Std. Error
Unstandardized
Coefficients
Beta
Standardized
Coefficients
t Sig.
Dependent Variable: Tone from 1995 to 2002
a.
The regression model shown above is looking at the year and whether
the article is a news type or main actor news piece in order to predict for the
tone of the article. Figure 20 above shows the coefficients for these
variables. The main actor variable is clearly the strongest predictor of the
three. It is also the only variable that is statistically significant at the p<.01
level.
49
Figure 21
Correlations
1 .128* .117* -.220**
. .028 .040 .000
224 224 224 224
.128* 1 -.419** -.749**
.028 . .000 .000
224 224 224 224
.117* -.419** 1 -.287**
.040 .000 . .000
224 224 224 224
-.220** -.749** -.287** 1
.000 .000 .000 .
224 224 224 224
Pearson Correlation
Sig. (1-tailed)
N
Pearson Correlation
Sig. (1-tailed)
N
Pearson Correlation
Sig. (1-tailed)
N
Pearson Correlation
Sig. (1-tailed)
N
RYEAR
TYPE
ACTOR
NEWSTHEM
RYEAR TYPE ACTOR NEWSTHEM
Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (1-tailed).
*.
Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (1-tailed).
**.
Figure 21 above shows that there is a statistically significant positive
correlation (significant at the p<.05 level) between the year and the news
type and main actor in the news. This correlation shows that generally,
regardless of the year, news type and main actor articles are neutral or
positive. The relationship did not occur by chance, but the relationship is not
very strong.
There is a statistically significant (at the p<.01 level) negative
correlation between the news theme articles and the year. The year is
separated into two categories, 1995 to 1998 being the low years and 1999 to
2002 the high years. This matrix values indicate the news theme stories in
50
low years are more negative that those in high years. The correlation matrix
shows that the relationship did not occur by chance and the correlation is
very strong.
Content analysis summary
When looking at overall trends over the eight-year study period it is
apparent that rap music is indeed represented negatively by mainstream
media outlets. The type of news story had an impact on the degree of
negativity of a story. When the focus of an article was a hip hop personality
the articles were overwhelmingly negative, only 3.1 percent of main actor
articles were positive while 77.4 percent of the articles were negative. News
theme stories fared slightly better, nearly 50 percent of these articles were
negative. Even hard news items (represented by news type category), which
are designed to report the facts in a neutral manner were negative 29.9
percent of the time. Regression analysis shows that there is indeed a trend
towards increasingly positive coverage, however the negative coverage is
still a factor.
51
Chapter 4: Metaphor Analysis
Content analysis alone does not accurately represent the types or
degree of negativity present in a sample. The analysis is not descriptive and
does not allow the study to focus on underlying motives of news frames.
Simply categorizing an article to be positive, neutral or negative though
informative does not illustrate the subtle and overt negative representations
of rap music and hip hop culture made evident through metaphor analysis.
Metaphor organizes the unknown or abstract meaning of words in
terms of a more direct or concrete meaning. The target domain is the
semantic domain in which the abstract meaning is understood in terms of the
source domain, the concrete or direct meaning. The target domain transfers
meaning and logic in a way that allows the target to be understood as if it
were the source (Smith, 2002, October 6). Cognitive study of metaphors
involves linking the description a metaphors’ source and target domains.
The expression of metaphors that are represented in this chapter are
drawn from a sample of articles related to rap and hip hop music published in
the New York Times between 1995 and 2002. I took a 20 percent sample
from each of the 8 years of my original sample of 224 articles. I downloaded
the 45 articles from LexisNexis and printed each article in full.
52
The printed materials were the basis for my study. I carefully read
each article and highlighted any form of metaphoric expression represented
in each of the articles. I then went back through and compiled a list of
sentences that contained metaphoric phrases (for a complete list please refer
to appendix C). The cognitive metaphor method looks for links between
target and source domains. With my list I went through each and mapped the
sentence domains, which I then grouped together by similar target domains.
Although the content analysis showed a shift towards more positive
news representation, in many cases even positive articles were undermined
by the metaphors and cultural symbols used to represent rappers. For
example, in a concert review of the rap group the Roots, published in 2000 in
the Times, rapper Talib Kweli is referred to as a, “socially conscious rapper”
(January 21). This sentence implies that rap in general is a destructive social
force, because calling Kweli socially conscious insinuates that his rap style is
an aberration. There is an implied norm that rap is not “socially conscious.”
Rap music and electricity
Musical expression is a powerful form of expression. Rap conveyed
to be powerful, electric or energetic in metaphorical expressions referring to
rap music. Some examples found in the sample are:
Article 24. Hip hop is the only electric current of culture (2002, April 5).
53
Article17. …Lyrics that rappers say reflect the raw energy of the streets from
which they emerge (1998, December 22).
Figure 1
Source Domain
electricity, resource
Target Domain
Electric current Hip hop music
Raw energy Rap lyrics
When the semantic domains of the metaphors from the above
sentences are mapped (see Figure 1 above) it is clear that there is a power
in the music that is inherently understood. The metaphor referring to hip hop
as “the only electric current of culture” is positive, naming hip hop as a
resource, an entity that keeps culture alive. However, the misuse of the
resource is often cited in metaphorical reference.
The term “raw energy” is also used. “Energy” in Webster's Revised
Unabridged Dictionary is defined as, “Strength of expression; force of
utterance; power to impress the mind and arouse the feelings; life; spirit; --
said of speech, language, words, style; as, a style full of energy.” Using the
term “energy” to describe rap music shows that there is an inherent power in
the expression. On the other hand, because rap has energy it can be used
54
as a tool of abuse or as weapon. The term “raw energy” also entails
identifying rap music with an energy source that is unrefined or untapped.
Language as a weapon or tool
There are numerous examples in the text that refer to rap lyrics as a
weapon. The perception is that rap music is so offensive that it is dangerous,
a threat to society at large. Rap music, especially rap from the “gangsta”
genre is often cited as a tool that could be used to incite violence. Here are
several examples found in the text:
Article 1. …That lyrics in songs by so-called Gangsta Rappers like Tupac
Shakur and Snoop Doggy Dogg are demeaning to women and fuel
violence in the inner-city neighborhoods (1995, May 19)
Article 11. But they were also making a billion-dollar industry into an apparatus
for a gang war (1996, September 22).
Article 22. [Eminem’s lyrics are a barrage of the invective (2001, February 9).
The mapping of the semantic domains shown below in Figure 2
demonstrate that when rap lyrics are discussed in the text they are situated
within a larger discourse, that puts rap lyrics on the offensive. The word
choices situate the power of the lyrics in a negative position. Fuel can be a
positive thing, fuel is a source of energy, a tool for locomotion. However
when fuel is paired with violence, it becomes dangerous and threatening.
55
Violence disrupts the social order and function of society. Lyrics are
dangerous and offensive; they are fuel for violence or an apparatus for gang
war.
Figure 2
Source Domain
violence, war, attack
Target Domain
Fuel for violence Rap lyrics
Apparatus for gang war Rap lyrics
Barrage of invective Rap lyrics
War metaphors
Metaphors relating to war are prevalent in the sample of texts. Rap
music has been controversial at times, it is commonplace to use war
analogies when writing about political adversaries. According to Tannen
(1999), “War metaphors reflect the confrontation and aggressions we have
institutionalized in our media, legal system, education and politics” (p.1).
Some examples are:
56
Article 4. When politicians publicly purport to defend our kids and then sell
them out, they should be recognized not as heroes but as double
agents in the culture wars (1995, December 12)
Article 6.…Which is why we shouldn’t let the gangsta-rap crusade pass so
quickly into the footnotes of our waning year (1995, December 13).
Figure 3
Source Domain

war, violence
Target Domain
Double agents in culture
wars
Anti- rap politicians
Gangsta-rap crusade Anti-rap debate
Figure 3 above shows the mapping of the domains of the metaphors
used in the arguments against rap music. The debate about gangsta rap
uses the same type of metaphor to express opposing views. In Article 4, the
anti-rap politicians are dubbed, “double agents in culture wars,” because the
political actions on the surface seemed to attempt to defend or protect
children, at the same time they are attacking Black culture. On the other side
of the argument, Article 6, a letter to the editor, believes the anti - gangsta
rap movement is more of a crusade in essence a holy war against gangsta
rap. Likening the debate against gangsta rap to a crusade positions those
57
who are against rap as fighting on the side of good making rap music an evil
that needs to be eradicated.
Gangsta rap
Gangsta rap remained a controversial topic in the news for nearly a
decade. Gangsta rap rejects middle-class standards and thusly references
to the music frame it as dangerous and threatening, something that we must
protect our children from. There are numerous Articles in my study period,
and in studies that others have conducted, that reference the genre and the
political debate the music brought on. The genre is generally cognitively
referenced to death and disease as Figure 4 below indicates.
Article 8. But gangsta rap has also been an artistic dead end (1996, July 28).
Article 10. Gangsta rap and its trappings are culturally poisonous and that the
companies that exploit them are bloodsuckers (1996, September 22).
Article 5. If the goal of their last battle was to protect children from such music
it was a total bust (1995, December 13).
58
Figure 4 below shows the mapping of semantic domains for the
cognitive metaphors related to “gangsta rap.” Rap music is referenced as an
“artistic dead end” and “culturally poisonous,” a genre that serves no cultural
purpose. Gangsta rap though violent in its imagery represented the plight of
urban blacks and brought views of ghetto life to the masses; I believe that
feat in itself served a tremendous cultural purpose.
Figure 4
Source Domain
death, disease, dangerous
Target Domain
Artistic dead end Gangsta Rap
Culturally poisonous Gangsta Rap
Protect children from Gangsta Rap
Rap fans
In my study period there were several examples of violent events
related to violent events at rap concerts and venues. Rap fans are generally
painted unsympathetically. They are out of control, roving bands, outside
forces such as lack of security or venue size are rarely contributed to the
violent events. Some examples are:
59
Article 20. …The parade’s directors are considering a ban on some floats
carrying rap performers whose music, they say, glorifies violence and
attracts unruly throngs that tarnish the march’s image… (2000,
August 4).
Article 18. A stampede of rap fans trying to get into a sold-out concert…last
night rushed the gates… (1999, June 25).
Article 12. The incident began in a chaotic swirl of people flooding in to
Fulton Street… (1997, March 19).
Article 14. Too many hip hop performers and hangers-on have been
victims or perpetrators of violence (1997, March 30).
Figure 5
Source Domain
disorder, violence, water
Target Domain
Stampede of animals Rap fans
Unruly throngs Rap fans
Chaotic swirl Rap Fans
Victims or perpetrators of
violence
Rap fans
60
The above Figure 5 shows that rap fans are unanimously represented
as out of control forces of nature. Rap fans are dangerous elements that
need to be controlled and policed. Rap fans are likened to a “chaotic
swirl…flooding into Fulton Street,” this metaphor recalls the imagery of a
deadly whirlpool or a hurricane. Calling rap fans “unruly throngs”
dehumanizes the group equating them to an out of control pack or mob of
people gathering for no purpose. In all of the accounts of rap concerts in the
text I found no alternative metaphors to counter this portrayal.
Metaphor analysis summary
Media promote certain images of rap music by selectively covering
certain stories while omitting others. Even positive messages are framed in
ways that are defined by opposition. This process operates on an underlying
paradigm that locates rap artists, lyrics and fans as oppositional. The lyrics
are dangerous, rap artists and their fans are bad citizens. Rap music
becomes a scapegoat because the oppositional voices within the music
reject mainstream standards of cultural expression and threaten the social
order. This makes the marginalized that are represented through rap music
and all that are associated with the music the cause for society’s ills. The
metaphors support the underlying belief that Black cultural expression is not
an acceptable form of expression.
61
Chapter 5: Conclusion
Media analysis
From 1985 to 1990 Patrick Hill traced the coverage of the rap in the
New York Times and found that there was scant coverage in the beginning of
the period. Mostly coverage of violent events related to rap music. Hill also
found, however, that the coverage moving into the 1990’s was increasingly
positive. In my research, I found that in the beginning of the study period in
1995, coverage was extremely negative and there was a slight drop in the
volume of negative coverage in 1996. Regression analysis shows that the
earlier the year the more likely the coverage was to be negative.
During Hill’s study period he found that the New York Times seemed
to be on the side of those against censorship, publishing neutral or positive
articles about censorship issues. A decade later when the debate about
censorship and Interscope records emerged, the Times chose to focus on
the voices of those who wanted to ban the distribution of ‘obscene’ music
instead of the voices of those against censorship, resulting in overwhelmingly
negative coverage. Perhaps the most negative news items are a result of
the growing popularity and crossover (60 percent of all rap music is
62
purchased by whites) appeal that caused many to become alarmed at what
white suburban teens were listening to.
Hill’s research noted that as hip-hop became more familiar with the
white suburban youth in the late 1990’s there was an increase in coverage by
the Times. I found a striking similarity in my research. Approaching 2000,
there was a notable increase in the coverage on rap music by the Times after
a three-year period of scant coverage. This could be directly linked to the
increasing popularity of the music, and the tremendous growth of the industry
at the turn of the century. According to Hughes (2002), in 2000 the total
revenue for rap music was around $1.2 billion dollars (p.1). 101.5 million of
the 785 million albums sold that year were rap albums, which equates to 13
percent of album sales. That percentage represents a huge increase from
the 10 percent share of the market that rap music took in 1995 (p.1).
Metaphor analysis
I will not make the claim that the metaphors expressed in my sample
of the New York Times represent what Santa Ana (2002) calls, a “principle
unit of hegemonic expression” (p. 57), a claim that Santa Ana could make
based on his sampling techniques. The scope of this project did not allow me
the means or the time to take a statistically representative sample. For the
63
purposes of this paper I will say however that there are several conceptual
metaphors that were found consistently throughout the 8-year study period.
The data from the content analysis show a decline in negative stories
during the study period. The metaphor analysis did not parallel those
findings. The same negative metaphors were represented repeatedly
throughout the study period. The media model takes what is most likely to
be disturbing to the mainstream media audience and focuses on those
messages. Rap music is thought to be threatening and oppositional and the
metaphors highlight this belief. The metaphors position rap in terms of what
is easily understood to the mainstream. Metaphors indicate that rap artists
and fans are a threat to social order. The debate about gangsta rap
devolved into name-calling and finger pointing, in essence citing rap music
as the root of declining moral values.
Minority groups that are formed based on expressed phenotypic
characteristics share a cultural experience that is on the periphery of the
majority because of the way race is conceived in the United States. Out of
the common social experience comes cultural production. Ultimate
appreciation of black culture as a whole is not evident in today’s society.
Black fine arts are not represented in corporate holding, the Black author
section in most bookstores is small or nonexistent, as a whole mainstream
64
America at this time is only interested in Black popular culture and even then
this comes with conditions.
More importantly, media transmits cultural identity and the negative
representation has a direct impact not only on the overall public perception of
African Americans but it also impacts self image of the group as well This
has dangerous implications for the hip hop generation in the formation of
their self-image. Campbell (1995) has asserted:
While many minority youngsters do have strong, positive role models
in their homes and communities, those who do not must rely on the
images modeled in the mass media. To the extent that it is common
practice to portray African Americans most frequently in a negative
light-criminals, drug addicts, etc. or as positive examples from a
negative context, strong signals are being sent to developing African
American youth about what they can become. If a youngster wishes a
more positive path, which models provide data? Again for most
minority subgroups, there are extremely few positive role models in
the news; for African American sports and entertainment are the fare
(p. 33).
My research shows that even in the entertainment realm there are persistent
negative representations through metaphors and news frame choices. This in
effect leaves even fewer positive role models.
65
Suggestions for the future
Rap music and hip hop culture are represented negatively by
mainstream media sources. With growing acceptance and popularity there
seems to be a decrease in negative coverage of rap music. As it stands
there are things that can be done to allow the critique of the music the
objectivity it deserves. Major news outlets need to hire more staff writers
whose area of expertise is in rap or hip hop music. When the New York
Times took on a staff writer that specialized in rap music there was significant
increase in the number of neutral and positive stories written about rap and
hip hop topics.
Writers should be more aware of the way articles are personalized.
Stories in which a hip hop personality is the main focus are almost always
negative. Rap artists are rarely humanized, or portrayed sympathetically
even when murdered. Positive personalization could improve the overall
perception of rap. There are indeed rap artist that make positive
contributions to society however, they do so with little or no media coverage.
Writers should also be more aware of the impact of the frames they
choose when writing articles about hip hop culture. When there is a
“stampede” at a rap event it is not always appropriate to support the article
with a criminalized frame. There are a number of reasons why these types of
tragedies occur at any venue, it is not always because the fans or artists
66
behaved criminally. This suggestion of alternative framing is not an easy
task to undertake. Metaphors have the power to control and limit thinking,
however, the use of alternative metaphors can break down barriers of
expression.
There were a few examples of alternative metaphors in the text. I
came across the quotes, “Rap is meritocracy” (2002, November 11) and “Hip
Hop is a sensibility not a sound” (2002, November 11). These cognitive metaphors
speak to an understanding of rap as a positive social tool. The quotes are directly
from artists themselves and not journalists, an indication that it will be the
responsibility of those who love and respect rap to create more alternative
metaphors. I believe that there is tremendous potential for rap music to truly be a
platform for social change, however the current state of media representation will
only hinder its ability.
67
References
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71
Appendix A: Coding Materials
Code Book
First classify each article into one of the following categories:
4. News themes
Articles related to:
violent events at rap venues, concerts or events
the popular appeal of rap music or crossing -over
censorship
types of rap
5. News type
Articles that are:
hard news
editorials
letters
concert or album reviews
feature or profile stories
6. Main actors in news-
Select this section if the article talks mainly about:
hip hop personalities who become subjects of the news
(when the article is not a feature story, or profile or concert/album review)
Next rate the overall tone following these guidelines:
1. Positive
Shows social cohesion and cooperation
2. Neutral
Shows neither conflict nor cohesion
3. Negative
Depicts social conflict, disorganization or crime or criminal activity
72
Coding Forms
1995
News Item Date News
Theme
News
Type
Main
Actor
+N-
1. Craig Mack Interview
1/29 X X
2. Super Natural Album Plans
2/12 X X
3. Brat Rap
3/5 X X
4. Easy-E Death
4/2 X X
5. Jimmy Iovine Interview
4/16 X X
6. Op-Ed by Bennet &C DeLores Tucker
6/2 X X
7. Beastie Boys/Ranges Scheduling Conflict
5/19 X X
8. Time Warner to Develop Rap Lyric
Standards
5/19 X X
9. Campaign Against Time Warner
6/1 X X
10. Politicians Target Entertainment Media
6/2 X X
11. Op-Ed anti-Dole sentiments
6/4 X X
12. Time Warner Execs Debate
6/4 X X
13. Gangsta Rap and Crossover Appeal
6/5 X X
14. Dole and Time Warner Political
Contribution
6/5 X X
15. Op-Ed Letter from Dole
6/5 X X
16. Family Values and Dole’s Comments
6/10 X X
17. Op-Ed Ridicule of Dole’s Moral Position
6/11 X X
18. Time Magazine’s anti Gangsta Rap
Coverage
6/12 X X
19. Pro Rap Warner Exec Doug Morris
Dismissed
6/22 X X
20. Liberman Joins Anti Warner Campaign
6/30 X X
21. Warner Publ Group deal w/ Suge
Publishing
7/1 X X
22. Warner Trying to Sell Share of Interscope
8/10 X X
23. Interscope Artist Tommy Jones
8/14 X X
24. Interscope Sues C DeLores Tucker
8/16 X X
25. Death Row Accuses Warner of
Racketeering
8/19 X X
26. Review of “The Show”
8/25 X X
27. Rap Artists Keep Own Kids From Music
9/14 X X
28. Rap Stars Get Rich Leave Ghetto
9/24 X X
29. Warner Will Sell Shares of Interscope
9/28 X X
30. Dole and Bennet Hypocrites
12/13 X X
73
1996
News Item Date News
Theme
News
Type
Main
Actor
+N-
1. Suge Night Interview
1/14 X X
2. Heavy D Named Head of Uptown
1/14 X X
3. MCA to buy 50 Percent of Interscope
1/23 X X
4. Double XXposure-Publicity/Management
Co.
1/28 X X
5. Polite Japanese Rap
1/29 X X
6. Eazy-E Album Review
2/11 X
X
7. Kris Kross Album Review
2/11 X X
8. Speech Album Review
2/11 X X
9. MCA Prepares to Buy Half of Interscope
2/19 X X
10. MCA Buys Half of Interscope
2/22 X X
11. Rapper Borngod Allah Interview
3/3 X X
12. Review of Fugees Performance
3/7 X X
13. Tupac Shakur Parole Violation
4/5 X
X
14. Renewed Pressure on Warner by
Senators etc.
5/31 X
X
15. Tommy Hillfiger Promotes Line
w/Rappers
6/16 X X
16. Gunshots at Rap Concert in Harlem
6/28 X
X
17. Run DMC’s Joseph Simmons Ordained
6/30 X X
18. End of Gangsta Rap
7/28 X X
19. Tupac Shot Four Times
9/9 X
X
20. Tupac Shakur Dies
9/14 X X
21. Review of Life of Tupac Shakur
9/16 X
X
22. Letter about Pac and Black Males
9/18 X X
23. Poet Umar Bill Nassan on Lifestyle of
Rappers
9/18 X
X
24. Plans for Peace Gathering
9/18 X X
25. Gangster Rap and Violence
9/22 X
X
26. Editorial Comments on Gangsta Rap
9/22 X
X
27. Nation of Islam Peace Ceremony for
Tupac
9/23 X X
28. Spoken Word Movement
9/29 X X
29. “Requiem Rap: Tribute Songs
10/13 X X
30. Fat Joe Interview
11/10 X X
31. Quad City DJ’s Christmas Music Review
12/6 X X
32. Flava Flav Arrested in Bronx
12/8 X
X
33. Wu-Tang Clan Feature
12/8 X X
34. Editorial on Crossover Appeal of Rap
12/9 X
X
35. Campaign against MCA
12/16 X
X
74
1997
News Item
Date News
Theme
News
Type
Main
Actor
+N-
1. Biggie Smalls Killed in Drive-By
3/10 X X
2. Tupac and Biggie Killed Six Months
Apart
3/10 X X
3. Biggie Smalls Life and Career
3/17 X X
4. Scuffle at Funeral Service
3/19 X X
5. Times Reporter Covering Funeral
Arrested
3/19 X X
6. Commissioner Praises Police Action at
Funeral
3/20 X X
7. Letter about denigration of Rap Genre
3/24 X X
8. Video Could Lead to Biggie’s Killer
3/28 X X
9. Dyson on Moral Ambiguity of Gangsta
Rap
3/30 X X
10. Posthumous Biggie Album Best Seller
4/3 X X
11. DA Dismiss Charges against Times
Reporter
4/12 X X
12. Time Warner in Gangsta Rap Dispute
Again
5/16 X X
13. Heavy Metal vs. Rap in Egypt
6/8 X X
14. Wu-Tang Forever Review
6/10 X X
15. New Jersey Roots of Rap
6/15 X X
16. Disney Recalls Insane Clown Pose
Release
6/27 X X
17. Wu-Tang Clan Concert Review
6/28 X X
18. Queen Latifah Interview
7/2 X X
19. Professional Athletes Involved in Rap
7/14 X X
20. Missy Elliott Interview
8/17 X X
21. Hip Hop Clothing Lines
8/18 X X
22. Coach Sponsors Vibe Music Seminar
8/24 X X
23. Lil Kim Breaks Performance Curfew
8/31 X X
24. Rap Music and Sampling
9/14 X X
25. X-ecutioners Reviving the Turntable
10/19 X X
75
1998
News Item Date News
Theme
News
Type
Main
Actor
+N -
1. Rakim Concert Review
1/1 X X
2. KRS-One Performance Review
1/5 X X
3. DJ Shadow Hip Hop Composer
1/12 X X
4. Queen Pen Discusses Lesbianism
1/18 X X
5. Common Performance Review
1/23 X X
6. Death Row May Unraveling
1/26 X X
7. J Flexx not Credited
2/4 X X
8. No Limit Signs Snoop Dog
5/14 X X
9. Profile of Percy Miller
6/13 X X
10. Smokin Grooves Tour Planned
7/28 X X
11. Lauren Hill Profile
8/28 X X
12. Black Eyed Peas Review
9/2 X X
13. Profile of Priority Records
9/3 X X
14. Missy Eliot Profile
9/13 X X
15. Vanilla Ice Performance Review
10/23 X X
16. Transformation of Trip Hop
10/25 X X
17. Seagram’s Consolidation of
Programs
12/21 X X
18. Black Journalists Covering Rap
Threatened
12/22 X X
19. Comments on DMX New Release
12/31 X X
20. Slick Rick Performance Review
12/31 X X
76
1999
News Item Date News
Theme
News
Type
Main
Actors
+N-
1. Puff Daddy Held Responsible for
Stampede
1/12 X X
2. Foxy Brown Interview
2/14 X X
3. DJ Assault of Detroit New Hip Hop
Sound
2/17 X X
4. Lauren Hill Wins Five Grammy’s
2/25 X X
5. Underground Rap in New York
4/7 X X
6. Profile on Prince Paul’s Unique Rap
Style
4/12 X X
7. Rap Fans Rush Gates at Concert
6/25 X X
8. DMX Illegal Weapons Possession
7/2 X X
9. Lord Finesse Interview
8/7 X X
10. Jurassic 5 and Dilated Pupils Review
8/14 X X
11. Kool Keith Review
9/4 X X
12. Talib Kweli and Mos Def Concert
Review
9/6 X X
13. Rosa Parks Case Against OutKast
Rejected
11/19 X X
77
2000
News Item Date News
Theme
News
Type
Main
Actor
+N -
1. Profile of Lawyer Who Represents
Rappers
1/26 X X
2. Christopher Rios aka Big Pun Dies at
28
2/8 X X
3. Christopher Rios Obituary
2/9 X X
4. Police Arrest Painters of Tribute Mural
for Pun
2/10 X X
5. Pun’s Bronx Neighborhood Pays
Tribute
2/13 X X
6. Ruff Ryder/Cash Money Concert
Review
2/29 X X
7. Rap Labels Styling Themselves as
Families
3/12 X X
8. Plans to Establish Hip Hop Hall of
Fame
4/6 X X
9. T-Shirts in Honor of Deceased Roots
in Rap
4/17 X X
10. White Rappers Limited to Self-
Satirizing
4/23 X X
11. Racial Boundaries Within Hip Hop
Culture
7/6 X X
12. Letter in Response to 7/6 Article
7/10 X X
13. De La Soul Performance Review
7/22 X X
14. Puerto Rican Day Parade to Ban Rap
Floats
8/4 X X
15. Brutishness among White Rock and
Rap Fans
8/6 X X
16. Feature on De La Soul
8/13 X X
17. Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against
Eminem
8/27 X X
18. Iverson Meets w/Reps of Gay/Lesbian
Groups
10/11 X X
19. BET Agrees to Buy 360HipHop.com
10/11 X X
20. Column on Iverson’s Newly Release
Rap CD
10/13 X X
21. Roots Concert Review
10/14 X X
22. Interview w/Alternative Rapper Dan
Nakamura
11/12 X X
78
2001
News Item
Date
News
Theme
News
Type
Main
Actor
+
N-
1. Russel Jones arraigned on drug charges
1/3 X X
2. Tribute to Big Pun
1/7 X X
3. Jill Scott performs in Atlantic City
1/28 X X
4. DMX appeals jail sentence
1/29 X X
5. DMX scheduled to begin 15 day
sentence
2/5 X X
6. DMX to appeal prison sentence
2/8 X X
7. Op-Ed on controversy of Eminem’s lyrics
2/9 X X
8. DMX to receive reduction of sentence
2/9 X X
9. Letter against Eminem
2/14 X X
10. DMX to turn himself in to authorities
2/15 X X
11. NYPD investigate radio studio shooting
2/27 X X
12. DMX begins serving jail sentence
2/28 X X
13. Letter hopes that Eminem will disappear
3/4 X X
14. Ann Powers reviews Outkast concert
3/14 X X
15. Tupac remains magnetic figure
4/11 X X
16. Recordings blending hip hop and opera
5/6 X X
17. Critic column on hip hop theatre festival
6/27 X X
18. Gil Scott-Heron pleads guilty to
possession
7/10 X X
19. Russel Jones sentenced on drug charges
7/19 X X
20. Op-Ed Russel Simmons about
censorship
8/03 X X
21. Op-Ed Article on hip hop as refreshing
8/22 X X
22. Review of album of week/P Diddy
8/24 X X
23. Jay-Z pleads guilty to stabbing
10/18 X X
24. Hip hop movement/ Cuban Rappers visit
US
10/24 X X
25. Urban concert encompasses all types
10/30 X X
26. Rap impresario injured in crash
12/9 X X
27. Sugar Hill Gang awarded 3M settlement
12/18 X X
28. Wu-tang concert review
12/24 X X
29. Underground hip hop movement
12/28 X X
79
2002
News Item Date News
Theme
News
Type
Main
Actor
+N-
1. Jay-Z and Nas return to the dis
1/6 X X
2. DMX pleads guilty to more charges
1/11 X X
3. Jay-Z Unplugged album of week
1/18 X X
4. Roots Concert Review
1/21 X X
5. Review of Busta Rhymes
3/19 X X
6. Best of Both Worlds Review
3/24 X X
7. Review of Blackalicious concert
3/26 X X
8. Polish Hip hop
4/5 X X
9. Review of X-ecutioners
4/23 X X
10. Review of Cee-lo performance
5/9 X X
11. Eminem album review
5/28 X X
12. Franchising of rapper Eminem
6/2 X X
13. Review of rapper Usher
6/17 X X
14. Hip hop summit action network
6/22 X X
15. Profile of Nelly
6/23 X X
16. Review of Anger management tour
7/24 X X
17. Review of Scream 2 tour
8/9 X X
18. Review of Scarface and Styles
8/11 X X
19. Rap festival canceled
8/22 X X
20. Disputed rap concert held
8/27 X X
21. Pepsi cancels Ludacris spots
8/29 X X
22. Hip Hop helps advertise products
9/2 X X
23. Bone Concert review
9/23 X X
24. Funk Master Flex arrested
9/25 X X
25. New theories on rap deaths
10/7 X X
26. Cold crush crew member dies
10/12 X X
27. Review of LL Cool J album
10/14 X X
28. Eminem crosses racial barriers
10/28 X X
29. Review of Nelly concert
10/30 X X
30. Run DMC DJ shot in queens
10/31 X X
31. Jam/J Unlikely victim of violence
11/1 X X
32. DMC death possible industry feud
11/1 X X
33. DMC murder shocks community
11/1 X X
34. DMC protégé 50 cent shot
11/2 X X
35. Review of Cam’ron concert
11/2 X X
36. DMC rap star killed
11/3 X X
37. Promoter shot in Bronx
11/3 X X
38. Rap rivalries as a marketing tool
11/3 X X
39. Feature on Eminem
11/3 X X
40. Police to question suspect in DMC
case
11/4 X X
41. Fans mourn Jam Master
11/5 X X
42. Jam Master J Funeral
11/6 X X
80
43. Run DMC disbands, cancel tour 11/7 X X
44. Employee of Death Row arrested
11/15 X X
45. Slick Rick facing deportation
12/5 X X
46. Review of B2K Album
12/6 X X
47. Hip hop divides rappers
12/22 X X
48. P Diddy reality making band
12/23 X X
49. Suge Knight arrested
12/25 X X
50. Common performance
12/26 X X
81
Appendix B: Inter-coder Reliability
Correlation for type of article
Correlations
1.000 .862**
. .000
40 40
.862** 1.000
.000 .
40 40
1.000 .873**
. .000
40 40
.873** 1.000
.000 .
40 40
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
N
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
N
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
N
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
N
THEME1
THEME2
THEME1
THEME2
Kendall's tau_b
Spearman's rho
THEME1 THEME2
Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
**.
Correlation for tone of article
Correlations
1.000 .930**
. .000
40 40
.930** 1.000
.000 .
40 40
1.000 .934**
. .000
40 40
.934** 1.000
.000 .
40 40
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
N
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
N
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
N
Correlation Coefficient
Sig. (2-tailed)
N
TONE1
TONE2
TONE1
TONE2
Kendall's tau_b
Spearman's rho
TONE1 TONE2
Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
**.
82
Appendix C: Metaphors from Sample
1. …That lyrics in songs by so-called Gangsta Rappers like Tupac Shakur and
Snoop Doggy Dogg are demeaning to women and fuel violence in the inner-
city neighborhoods (1995, May 19).
2. For months now, we have been engaged in a public education effort about the
sponsorship of music… (1995, June 6).
3. …[Time Warner], whose gangsta rap performers landed the company in a
politically charged controversy three months ago (1995, August 10).
4. When politicians publicly purport to defend our kids and then sell them out,
they should be recognized not as heroes but as double agents in the culture
wars (1995, December 12).
5. If the goal of their last battle was to protect children from such music it was a
total bust (1995, December 13).
6. Which is why we shouldn’t let the gangsta-rap crusade pass so quickly into
the footnotes of our waning year (1995, December 13).
7. About 30 people were injured in Harlem last night when gunshots set off a
panic in a large crowd that spilled past the bounds of a plaza where some of
the biggest names in popular music were performing free (1996, June 28).
8. But gangsta rap has also been an artistic dead end (1996, July 28).
9. [Gangsta rappers] have outstripped Mario Puzo by bringing their own legends
to life – recreating the street wars in song, music videos… (1996, September
22).
83
10. Gangsta rap and its trappings are cultural poisonous and that the companies
that exploit them are bloodsuckers (1996, September 22).
11. But they were also making a billion-dollar industry into an apparatus for a
gang war (1996, September 22).
12. The incident began in a chaotic swirl of people flooding in to Fulton Street …
(1997, March 19).
13. Painting ‘gangsta rap’ with one, sinister dark brush only serves to deepen
social and ethnic divisions… (1997, March 24).
14. Too many hip hop performers and hangers-on have been victims or
perpetrators of violence (1997, March 30).
15. Executives at Time Warner did not seem worried that the protest would
mushroom into a full blown controversy… (1997, May 16).
16. As Rakim describes it, rapping is an addiction, a craft, a weapon, a science, a
career and a religion. (1998, January 1).
17. …Lyrics that rappers say reflect the raw energy of the streets from which they
emerge (1998, December 22).
18. A stampede of rap fans trying to get into a sold-out concert…last night rushed
the gates… (1999, June 25).
19. [DMX] took the stage flanked by his squad of fellow artists from the Ruff
Ryders label (2000, March 21).
20. …The parade’s directors are considering a ban on some floats carrying rap
performers whose music, they say, glorifies violence and attracts unruly
throngs that tarnish the march’s image… (2000, August 4).
84
21. [De La Soul] seems entitled to be regarded as hip hop soldiers (2000, August
13).
22. [Eminem’s] lyrics are a barrage of the invective (2001, February 9).
23. [Puff Daddy] built a record label, a restaurant chain and a clothing line from his
rapping abilities (2001, January 12).
24. Hip hop is the only electric current of culture (2002, April 5).
25. There has always been a war for the soul of hip hop culture (2002, July 22).
26. Hip-hop would have to brace itself for the next blanket contamination of music
rather than the conditions that surround it (2002, November 11).
27. Fans white and black like their rappers close to the street (2002, November
11).
28. Rap is meritocracy (2002, November 11).
29. Hip hop is a sensibility not a sound (2002, November 11).
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