Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies

First Advisor

Kenneth D. Tunnell

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies


Specifically, this thesis is a look into rap lyrics, subculture, policy, reflexivity and the formation of the social self. In a broader vision, this thesis attempts to mold a theoretical pathway that illuminates where our cultural products "come from," not historically, but socially. Through the vehicle of rap lyrics I attempt to show that there is a historical and social structure that molds, limits and contains the very possibility of what music and lyrics can come to be. I try to show that the decisions we make on a national scale effects groups which have little political power, effectively recreating their realities, cultures and their value systems. Policy becomes a mechanism, which I call rejection, that forces people to live certain ways consequently reforming their social mapping, and by extension, their social selves. I then utilize auto-ethnography to show that, perhaps, rejection is a part of all us, and that it never quite escapes our cultural products, our work and those things we create.