Tadeu Velloso

Publication Date



It is undeniable that hip-hop has transformed from being an ignored inner city art form to one of the most influential musical and cultural genres in recent memory. The images created and disseminated through hip-hop, more commonly through mainstream rap, inform the self-conception of communities it is meant to represent, but it also informs the dominant culture’s opinion about life in communities of color and low-income communities. These communities are often thought of as being criminal, a notion often affirmed in mainstream rap lyrics. The perception of criminality in these communities has played a role in justifying policies that have led to the disproportionate incarceration of its members. In this study I sought to see how criminality stereotypes propagated by mainstream rap affected the reentry process for formerly incarcerated people as they attempt to negotiate their identities individually, socially, communally, and institutionally in society. Qualitative interviews with five people experiencing the reentry process revealed impacts of mainstream rap on their self-conceptions as they attempt to reintegrate and redeem themselves in society. Findings and their implications are interpreted in light of existing theory and research.

Author Supplied Keywords

incarceration, reentry, recidivism, hip-hop, stigma, crime, race

Publication Information

CST 411: Communication Across Barriers Capstone Project

Copyright for this work is retained by the author.

Document Type

Student Project

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Communication Commons