The Issues

Hip-hop has been accused of glorifying violence, misogyny and homophobia, and at the same time has been lauded for its ability to simply “tell it like it is.” Such controversial debates over forms of expression can rarely be boiled down to a simple case of wrong versus right. Instead, they are complex and multi-layered and must take into account the larger cultural context.

HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes goes beyond polarizing arguments to explore hip-hop’s most contested issues. How do limited perceptions of masculinity play into a culture of violence? What roles do misogyny and homophobia have in hip-hop culture—as well as in wider mainstream cultures? And are the media and music industries really to blame?

Learn more by exploring the topics below.

Warning! The following pages contain sexual imagery and strong language. Some pages in this section contain sexual imagery and strong language. These are included so viewers may judge for themselves the content of these videos, and to encourage critical thinking and spark dialogue on the issues explored in HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes.

A black man looking into the camera with a hood pulled over his head - Masculinity A shirtless black man dancing with black women dressed in bikinis - Misogyny & Homophobia Magazine covers with photographs of a shirtless, muscular Nas and 50 Cent - Media Literacy