Though there already exists a vast amount of literature that concerns itself with conceptualizations of Black masculinity in relation to hip-hop, due to the genre’s problematic history with homophobia, misogyny, and performative bravado, sexuality is often absent from the conversation. By the same token, up until around a decade ago, the representation of non-heteronormative artists in the commercial hip-hop landscape was also severely underrepresented. This paper deals with identity and representation within hip-hop, primarily focusing on the advent of successful non-heteronormative artists. In doing so, I seek to answer the question: How do hip-hop artists who break the heteronormative mold augment contemporary conceptualizations of Black masculinity? Using Frank Ocean and Tyler the Creator as case studies, examining the content of their lyrics and marketable commercial images, I find that the acceptance and support of these artists (in the past decade), who defy not only contemporary conceptualizations of Black masculinity, but also antiquated ideals surrounding the stereotypical archetypes of queer men of color, proves without question that hip-hop is capable, both culturally and artistically, of promoting progressive social change and embracing inclusive representation.
For the majority of my life I have felt consumed by music. As far back as I can remember melodies and drum patterns have laid claim to an overwhelming amount of my cognitive capacity; to the point that I often, half-jokingly, refer to my headphones as my “best friend.” For my fifth birthday, my grandfather gifted me his favorite selections of Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard from his vinyl collection, my uncles educated me on the libraries of The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, and I have my mother to thank for my extensive assortment of 1980s Glam Metal and 1990s R&B CDs; but it wasn’t until my older cousin introduced me to Kanye West at age nine that I discovered my true love, hip-hop. My unlikely love affair with the genre was initially spurred purely by sonic appreciation; even as a preteen the frequent incorporation of sampling and rhythmic influence from classic gospel and soul records felt entirely alien from anything I had previously been familiar with. Over the years as I grew older, educated myself on the history behind the music, delved deeper into the various subcultures prominent within the genre, and further considered its most frequently recurring themes, I have been able to situate my own understanding of hip-hop, and more broadly the culture that surrounds it, alongside its inherent ties to race, gender, and class as well as its methods and modes of representation.
Along this path of continuous discovery, my admiration for the art of rhythm and poetry only deepened; however, I was simultaneously forced to introspectively consider my own identity in relation to the history and subject matter of the music, to ensure that my appreciation and consumption of said media remains appropriate and not appropriative. With that in mind, although the large majority of my own personal music library consists almost exclusively of records that would fall under the largely encompassing (and slightly reductive) umbrella term of “hip-hop,” I have always felt like a bit of an outsider in my own consumption of the genre and participation in the surrounding culture. This is a phenomenon that I’m fully aware is not entirely unique to my own experience. Remaining cognizant of my own background, as a white kid from the rural south, I understand that I don’t fit the typical mold of the traditional “hip-hop head;” but as the old adage goes, looks can often be deceiving. Anecdotally, being the product of a single parent household from a heavily impoverished area, adjacent to a surplus of drug and gang-related crime, it didn’t take a lot of personal meditation or reflection to realize my affinity for the sound and stories depicted within the music were indicative of my own struggles with class and socioeconomic status.
Though I don’t conform to the archetype of the standard hip-hop consumer that many, inside and outside the culture, would expect, there are various elements within the music that I connect with on a very visceral level. Considering the innumerable range of personal experiences, and the ever-expanding audience that hip-hop has garnered, I can assert with near certainty that this sentiment is not entirely alien to specific facets of the community. As I extrapolated this line of thought further while contemplating a topic for my research, I been came conscious of the fact that, ironically, in what is perhaps indicative of the problematic and consistent gentrification or proverbial colonization of Black spaces and historically Black art forms, I (as a cisgendered white male) experience a certain level of privilege when it comes to representation within hip-hop that even members of the genre’s dominant racial identity do not get to proportionally enjoy; the existence, commercial success, and tentative acceptance of acts like Eminem, the late Mac Miller, and more recently Jack Harlow serve to qualify my own personal lived experience and provide a mirror that I, and others like me, can easily identify with. I highlight this fact not to make a case against inclusivity, but rather to advocate for proportionate representation; I take issue with the fact that of all the, admittedly antiquated, boundaries within this genre, the one that has been crossed the earliest and most frequently relates to race, while realistic representations of the vast spectrum of gender identity and sexuality remain at times entirely absent. This oversight, whether it be intentional or inadvertent, dismisses the experiences of individuals of color and participants within the culture that exist outside of the genre’s historically patriarchal and heteronormative lens, further exacerbating the systematic underrepresentation of marginalized communities even within spheres that they are directly responsible for creating and continuously influencing.
Hip-hop has always served to give voice to the oppressed and underrepresented, however the genre simultaneously correlates authenticity with very rigid ideals of gender, race, and sexual orientation. The leading discourse surrounding hip-hop culture is centered on the belief that in order for one to participate in hip-hop (as a culture and an art form), and for their participation to be considered “authentic,” they must adhere to, and define themselves according to, the genre’s dominant racial and gendered identity. This authentic hip-hop identity is, predominantly African American and primarily encompasses a brand of patriarchal masculinity that is heteronormative, misogynistic, and arbitrarily aligned with bravado or performative “toughness.”
The genre as a whole has always strived to qualify a specific lived experience; however, in doing so, it simultaneously discredits ancillary experiences that lay just outside its archaic and arbitrarily defined boundaries. Being aware of my own positionality, I have always felt uncomfortable asserting strong critiques or condemnations against hip-hop as a genre; however, the fashion in which the music, and culture, has decided to define “manhood,” and masculinity in general, has always deeply troubled me. Thankfully, in the last decade these archaic conceptions of masculinity have begun to dwindle; with the advent of an influx in commercially successful female talent within the genre, coupled with various artists who seek to break the music’s heteronormative lean, the stereotypical archetypes that once served as a pillar of the music are beginning to fade away.
This study addresses the question: How do hip-hop artists who break the heteronormative mold augment contemporary conceptualizations of masculinity, specifically within the genre’s dominant racial community? It is my hypothesis that by studying the career trajectory of recent non-heteronormative hip-hop artists, from 2010 through 2020, alongside their work/lyrics, a clear and distinctive shift in contemporary notions of masculinity, and Black masculinity in particular, can be noted; progressively moving us forward and adding greater range and nuance to our understanding of what it means to exist as a Black man within current hip-hop culture, and furthermore our society as a whole.
Research into the contemporary conceptualizations of Black masculinity is far from a new field of study; with available literature dating back three to four decades, and referential texts beginning even earlier, there is no shortage of digestible yet intellectually stimulating source material that could be used to further educate our dialogue. Those that influenced this study situate themselves temporally from 2001 to 2016 and derive from a range of intellectual fields and academic disciplines.
Of these articles, the most influential and informative would have to be Megan Morris’s “Authentic Ideals of Masculinity in Hip-Hop Culture: A Contemporary Extension of the Masculine Rhetoric of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements,” published in Volume 4 of the Sydney Undergraduate Journal of Musicology. Her article primarily concerns itself with the aforementioned idea of “authenticity” within hip-hop culture, and the role that leading conceptualizations of Black masculinity play in said authenticity. Through the article, Morris challenges perceptions regarding hip-hop culture’s view of authenticity as an extension of historical racial discourse; highlighting the masculine rhetoric of The Civil Rights and Black Panther Movements in the nineteen-sixties, and the aesthetic ideals of “cool pose,” which have embedded themselves in the way Black men ultimately seek to define themselves within a predominantly white culture.1
Morris’s coverage of the notion of authenticity as it relates to historically Black social and cultural movements operates in eloquent conversation with Wizdom Powell Hammond and Jacqueline Mattis’s social study “Being a Man About It: Manhood Meaning Among African American Men,” first published in Psychology of Men & Masculinity Volume 6, which polled a control group of 152 African American men on how they would quantify and define the idea of “manhood.”2 Though the study had little to nothing to do with hip-hop, or music at all for that matter, the data collected from respondents was indicative of Morris’ assertions that contemporary notions of Black masculinity among Black men were directly related to the masculine rhetoric of seminal social movements; with 48.7 percent of respondents associating “manhood” with being responsible and accountable for one’s actions, thoughts, and behaviors, the study would suggest that, like the reactionary development of “cool pose,” one of the most pivotal pillars of Black masculinity is the attempt to claim agency within a society that seeks to systematically strip it away.
Another text central to the development of my research for this study would have to be Natalie Hopkinson’s book, coauthored by Natalie Moore, Deconstructing Tyrone: a New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation, which evaluates both stereotypes and archetypes of the “modern African American male.” Through the use of the ambiguous stand-in “Tyrone,” our authors explore Black masculinity as it is represented by a range of personalities across the social spectrum; from professional to criminal, family man to hip-hop icon, and so on.3 I found this text most informative when analyzed alongside Kameron Copeland’s article “From New Black Realism to Tyler Perry: The Characterizations of Black Masculinity in Tyler Perry’s Romantic Storylines,” published in Volume 25 of The Journal of Men’s Studies in 2016. Much like Hopkinson’s research, Copeland’s article highlights a range of depictions of Black masculinity across the social spectrum as they’re presented in the films of Tyler Perry. Though the latter focuses on Black representations in film and television, and not music, the hyperbolic monoliths that Perry paints do offer new, albeit exaggerated, interpretations of masculinity on both the positive and negative ends of the spectrum. Though Perry’s work is at times problematic and contradictory, Copeland’s analysis of his archetypes do serve to bend traditional notions of Black masculinity that were contextually beneficial for this report.4
Perhaps the singular outlier in the works I consulted is an expert from John Jackson Jr.’s Harlem World: Doing Race and Class in Contemporary Black America, (specifically the fifth chapter, “White Harlem: Toward the Performative Limits of Blackness”), which at face value seems out of place in our discussion, as it deals primarily with the ways in which conceptualizations of Black masculinity are altered by wealth and class identity. However, it pairs perfectly with the final text that helped to inform this study, Derek Iwamoto’s “Tupac Shakur: Understanding the Identity Formation of Hyper-Masculinity of a Popular Hip-Hop Artist” published in the Volume 33 of The Black Scholar. Both of these works of literature serve to introduce additive variation in existing conceptualizations of Black masculinity, this time on a socioeconomic level, with the emphasis in the latter adding nuance to the idea of performative masculinity as applied to a commercially successful artist within hip-hop. Iwamoto asserts that an artist’s command of hyper masculine tropes, coupled with performative homophobic and sexist rhymes, is a way of showing their peers and white mainstream society that despite racial oppression and resource deprivation, Black men still have control and agency; coincidentally coming full circle back to the ideas introduced in Megan Morris’ article.5
If it wasn’t already clear, my intervention into these texts primarily concerns itself with the ways in which these intellectually established conceptualizations are further complicated by the recent advent of non-heteronormative artists within what has often been considered a historically homophobic art form. Once again, we seek to answer the question, How do hip-hop artists who break the heteronormative mold augment contemporary conceptualizations of Black masculinity, these being intrinsically tied to wealth and class, the influence of historical social movements, and the diversity of individual social experiences within the African American community?
Method and Data
For my primary case study, I have decided to look at the career trajectories and consumer reception of the popular rappers Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean, alongside their work, in order to highlight the ways in which these men quantify their own identities, and subsequently challenge traditional conceptualizations of Black masculinity. I believe these two artists are the perfect pairing for this analysis as they both started their musical careers in late 2010 as members of the California rap collective Odd Future, the two collaborate frequently while simultaneously appealing to vastly different facets of the hip-hop marketplace, and both men defy the historical heteronormative lean of the genre; with Frank openly identifying as bisexual and Tyler refusing to definitively define his own sexuality, continuously instilling speculative ambiguity through his lyrics, interviews, and social media posts.
I have collected data by performing a content analysis of three tracks from each of these artists in which they discuss either their romantic relationships or their relationships with their own identities within their lyrics in an effort to demonstrate the ways in which the heteronormative boundaries of hip-hop are beginning to shift; further extrapolating this change in paradigm to our central discussion of masculinity. From the discography of Frank Ocean I have selected his 2017 single “Chanel,” as well as the tracks “Bad Religion” and “Forrest Gump” from his debut album Channel Orange. Selecting relevant examples from Tyler the Creator’s catalog was a bit more difficult, but ultimately I decided on the tracks “I Ain’t Got Time!” and “Garden Shed” from his fourth studio album, Flower Boy, as well as his 2018 remix of Jacquees’ “No Validation” titled “GELATO.”
When conceptualizing and conducting my content analysis, I deliberately selected compositions from the artists within our case study that lyrically demonstrate their own personal departures from heteronormativity. In the case of Frank Ocean, the tracks “Forrest Gump” and “Bad Religion,” both released on Channel Orange in July of 2012, each repeatedly use male-oriented gender pronouns when describing Frank’s love interest and the target of his affection. Naturally, this spurred widespread speculation regarding Ocean’s sexual orientation from both fans and media outlets alike; perhaps primarily because Frank himself, possessing a masculine stature and strong physique while simultaneously lacking any overt feminine mannerisms, failed to adhere to the antiquated stereotypes that the public used to categorize queer men. In the weeks that followed however, Frank himself would take to social media site Tumblr where he posted an open letter about his first love, who happened to be a man, titled “thank you.” This revelation prompted predictable controversy within the genre but Frank’s immense artistic talent and innate songwriting capabilities had already transformed him into an overnight sensation, so any bigoted opinions or hateful responses were deafened by overwhelming commercial and critical support.
Outside of his open letter, Ocean hasn’t gone out of his way to further define his sexuality publicly, but in fairness, he’s never seemed too fond of being in the public eye at all; disappearing for up to four years at a time between album releases. That being said, in the subsequent singles and projects he has dropped, he consistently provides representation for the non-heteronormative audience within his art.
One of the best examples of this being found in the final track of Ocean’s portion of our content analysis, “Chanel.” The track opens confidently and unapologetically with the line “My guy pretty like a girl,” followed immediately by the continuation of the rhyme scheme with the bar “And he got fight stories to tell.” Here Frank juxtaposes the attractively effeminate features of his partner with their alleged past history of performative masculinity through the act of fighting. The rhythmic pattern culminates into the clever couplet on the chorus “I see both sides like Chanel / C on both sides like Chanel.” This double entendre serves not only to modify the track’s opening bars, but also as a lyrical representation of the duality within Frank’s own sexuality; comparing his own orientation to the designer Coco Chanel’s luxury brand, whose logo depicts two C’s facing opposite directions. Though it’s not a direct assertion of Frank’s bisexuality, the allusion is obvious enough for audiences to appreciate the representation, additionally the visualization of the C on “both sides” doubles as a representation of Ocean’s partner’s dynamic masculinity; though visually he’s very attractive, he can still handle himself in physical altercations.
While Frank Ocean has admirably made conscious and consistent efforts to define and relate his own experience with audiences who are interested, Tyler the Creator’s journey to self-actualization has been a bit more complicated. With a discography that nearly triples that of Frank’s you would think examples or indicators of Tyler’s romantic relationships would be more prominent than those of his former Odd Future associate, but the opposite is actually true. In fact, up until twenty-seventeen, with the release of Flower Boy, Tyler had only ever alluded to his sexuality half-jokingly in interviews and within tweets that most wrote off as not being reliable enough to be taken seriously. In fact, the majority of his early work lead many to believe that Tyler himself was aggressively homophobic; an understandable assertation, as the contents of his first and only mixtape Bastard housed 213 instances of the f-slur and other anti-gay or otherwise intolerant rhetoric. In hindsight, it now seems obvious that Tyler in his immaturity, as the project was released when he was only seventeen, was lashing out as he discovered and came to terms with his own identity; this, of course, does not excuse his intolerance, but the juxtaposition of his career(s) pre- and post-Flower Boy in and of itself should serve to exemplify a shift in the level of comfort artists within hip-hop have when expressing the true authentic version of themselves.
Thankfully, over the years, Tyler has evolved a lot and the release of Flower Boy, which remains his most commercially successful project to date, sees him finally making a definite declaration towards his flirtatious relationship with non-heteronormativity. In what became one of the most discussed standalone bars in 2017, the year of the album’s release, Tyler declares with confidence on the third verse of “I Ain’t Got Time!”: “Next line will have ‘em like ‘Whoa’ / I’ve been kissing white boys since 2004.” Though the notion isn’t elaborated on any further, this is as clear as Tyler has been to date. Later on the album, Tyler dedicates a whole track to grappling with his sexuality, though it’s not nearly as blatant as it is here.
Throughout the song “Garden Shed” Tyler uses the track’s namesake as a stand in for what has most frequently been interpreted as an extended metaphor for his difficulties coming out of the closet. Again he dances around the actual meaning and direct intent of the composition, but he’s much more vulnerable here than he is anywhere else; entirely void of comedic undertones or intent towards generating reactionary responses, lines such as “All my friends lost / They couldn’t read the signs”; “Truth is, since a youth kid, … Thought it was a phase”; and “Barley interested, but bagged just to brag to my boys” shifted many listeners’ perspectives permanently. In the year that followed, Tyler remixed Jacquees’ “No Validation” and retitled it “GELATO.” In this track, Tyler once again directly alludes to his sexuality, this time with a confident tone and a comfortable normalcy, posing a question and immediately answering himself with the lines “Ayo, tell me what’s the prolo, I just pop models / Boys or girls these days, shit, it don’t matter.” This track additionally houses a reference to the characters Oliver and Elio from the film Call Me by Your Name, which depicts a sudden and powerful romance between two young men in Italy; a film that Tyler has been a known fan of and has quoted on social media sites numerous times.
As I consider the now complete content analysis surrounding the work of Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean alongside their critical and commercial receptions, with the added context of how their careers have progressed, diverged, and developed, I feel as if I can definitively assert that their existence and ability to flourish within hip-hop, both as an art form and more broadly as a culture, is absolutely indicative of an overall shift in the ways in which we as a culture quantify Black masculinity as well as masculinity as a whole. If I had to concisely articulate the overall findings of this study I would list them as follows:
- The acceptance and success of an artist like Frank Ocean, who defies not only defy contemporary conceptualizations of Black masculinity but also antiquated ideals surrounding the archetypes of a typical queer man of color, proves without question that hip-hop is capable, both culturally and artistically, of promoting progressive social change and embracing inclusive representation; making colossal steps forward from the once prevalent problematic beliefs within the genre.
- The understanding patience with, and subsequent embrace, of an artist like Tyler the Creator, who has experienced success that exponentially correlates with his own journey of self-discovery, reinforces the notion that authenticity is still a pivotal value within the genre; however, that notion of authenticity is no longer restricted to the music’s outdated racial and gendered identity, but rather indicative of an artist’s honest expression of themselves.
Over the last forty to fifty years, hip-hop has grown into one of the largest and most popular genres across the musical spectrum, with subgenres and subcultures so deep and diverse, any attempt to comb through everything new and innovative would become an effort in futility. Thus, it baffles me that the ways in which we quantified masculinity, and Black masculinity in particular, as the art form draws almost exclusively from Black culture, up until the 2010s (and even still now) was so rigid and archaic. Though the non-heteronormative artists presented within this case study and content analysis experience a vast amount of monetary and social success, and provide an invaluable service in the spheres of social progression and representation, it’s likely a sad truth that had they existed prior to the last decade their success, reception, and influence would be insignificant in comparison to their current reality. This is especially troubling as hip-hop consumers who identify themselves outside of the music’s historical heteronormative lean would be robbed of their own representation.
As I have continued to conduct research for this project, I have noticed some areas where these conceptualizations have become more fluid, and others where they’ve stayed the same. To link our findings back to the works covered in this study’s literature review, it would seem that leading ideals surrounding authenticity have shifted more towards individual expression and further away from the historical influence that Megan Morris suggested. Morris presents artists Tupac Shakur, Jay-Z, and 5th Ward Weebie within her study to argue that their representation of hyper-masculinity, through their work and public image, is an active attempt to mediate economic, social, and political neglect prevalent within the African American urban community. In doing so she asserts that the notion of authenticity is not merely the glorification of wealth, consumption, criminal activity and violence, but a contextually relevant endorsement of a particular Black manhood that is the contemporary reflection of the masculine rhetoric of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements.6 While this is true, the commercial and public embrace of artists who have experienced success that exponentially correlates with their own journey of self-discovery, reinforces the notion that authenticity is still a pivotal value within the genre; however, that definition of authenticity is no longer restricted to the music’s outdated racial and gendered identity but rather indicative of an artist’s honest expression of themselves. Additionally, Morris’s interpretation neglects the intersections of unique lived experiences; while Black artists, and more broadly other artists of color, are intrinsically linked to and influenced by these movements, the classification feels reductive. Black men in hip-hop are much more than merely mirrors of reactionary rhetoric from the twentieth century or systematically oppressed victims without agency.
I noticed a similar departure from the existing literature when reconsidering Iwamoto’s article compared to the marketability of new non-heteronormative hip-hop stars. Iwamoto used the life and career of the late Tupac Shakur to explain the practical advantages of embracing a hypermasculine professional image within 1990s hip-hop culture. Tupac in particular was a fantastic and dynamic example for Iwamoto’s study as, though many of his songs perpetuate hyper masculine perspectives that were prevalent throughout the genre at the time, additional context around his live and work show that Shakur was a much more sensitive, progressive, and knowledgeable character than many gave him credit for.7 That being said, the immense success of acts like Frank Ocean and Tyler the Creator disprove the contemporary necessity to perpetuate a performative hyper-masculine profession image as a requirement to sell records.
A final minor finding that I think deserves attention, but is not yet prevalent enough to include within my primary case study, has to do with heteronormative departures within hip-hop through fashion as an ancillary industry. Deviations in this field began to show themselves as far back as the early 1990s, when heavily sequined apparel, influenced by the remnants of the disco and house movements, caused audiences to begin questioning a given artist’s sexuality. Interestingly, choice of clothing would bring about the same speculations in our current hip-hop climate, when artists like A$AP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert made their forays into fashion. For years now, Rocky has proudly championed the fact that he searches for his denim in the women’s section, and Uzi has nearly become synonymous with wearing tight chokers, designer blouses, and cute purses to carry his money. This progressive pressure on the boundaries of self-expression were heightened in 2016 when Atlanta’s own Young Thug posed for the album cover of his eighth studio mixtape, Jeffery, wearing a dress; a line of experimentation that Tyler the Creator took further while touring his most recent album, Igor, in 2018, donning a blonde wig and ivory pantsuit. This serves to further disprove Iwamoto’s belief that a hyper-masculine professional image is necessary to remain profitable; especially in the case of Young Thug who, while at times remains problematic, unapologetically showed that even a trap artist with gang ties (who relies heavily on public perceptions to lend his music credibility) could wear attire that subverts traditional gender norms while still remaining commercially profitable and culturally relevant.
It is my hope that this study helped to highlight hip-hop artists who break the heteronormative mold and illustrate the ways in which they augment contemporary conceptualizations of Black masculinity. I feel that through this study a distinctive and progressive shift in contemporary notions of racial masculinity can be noted; progressively moving us forward and adding greater range and nuance to our understanding of what it means to be a Black man existing within current hip-hop culture, and furthermore our society as a whole. The healthy portrayal of same sex relationships has long been underrepresented, and at times entirely absent, within the genre; thankfully however these boundaries are slowly but steadily being broken down.
It is my optimistic hope that this report serves as a sort of call to action to any reader that feels as strongly about this genre as I do, encouraging them to become advocates for diversity within the music and culture. Though I don’t fit the traditional racial identity of the typical hip-hop consumer, I hope that I can serve as an aide to fellow quasi-outsiders like non-heteronormative hip-hop fans of color, female rap fiends, and impoverished kids of various racial backgrounds like myself until everyone’s experience is proportionately represented.
That being said, I would like to thank those around me for continuously allowing me to participate in the culture, as well as the reader for taking the time to read this study and contemplate the ways in which Black masculinity has been conceptualized and qualified; both historically and contemporarily. If I could recommend one future direction for my work it would be to extrapolate the necessity of representation to other underrepresented communities within the genre; primarily that of female hip-hop artists, writers, producers, and engineers. It is my hope that this study will encourage the proportionate representation of otherwise underrepresented communities, not only within hip-hop, but more broadly across music and our culture as a whole.
- Megan Morris, “Authentic Ideals of Masculinity in Hip-Hop Culture: A Contemporary Extension of the Masculine Rhetoric of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements,” Sydney Undergraduate Journal of Musicology 4 (Dec. 2014).
- Wizdom Powell Hammond and Jacqueline S. Mattis, “Being a Man About It: Manhood Meaning Among African American Men,” Psychology of Men & Masculinity 6, no. 2 (2005):114–126.
- Natalie Hopkinson and Natalie Moore, Deconstructing Tyrone: a New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation (Cleis Press Start, 2007).
- Kameron J. Copeland, “From New Black Realism to Tyler Perry: The Characterizations of Black Masculinity in Tyler Perry’s Romantic Storylines,” The Journal of Men’s Studies 25, no. 1 (2016): 70–91.
- Derek Iwamoto, “Tupac Shakur: Understanding the Identity Formation of Hyper-Masculinity of a Popular Hip-Hop Artist,” The Black Scholar 33, no. 2 (2003): 44–49.
- Morris, “Authentic Ideals of Masculinity in Hip-Hop Culture.”
- Iwamoto, “Tupac Shakur.”