Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African-American Studies

First Advisor

Lia Bascomb

Second Advisor

Gary Wright

Third Advisor

Ryan Scott-Heath


Limited research has been conducted on the mental health of urban Afro-American men and the context of their traumatic experiencing. In this study, the researcher is interested in discovering if gangsta rap music is an artistic expression of trauma within experiences of a sector within the population of African American men. Utilizing qualitative and ethnographic analysis, this study seeks to explore gangsta rap as a form of connection to and possible expression of the contextual trauma experienced by inner-city African American men in Los Angeles, California between 1983 and 1993. Lyrics of 30 songs from gangsta rap artists associated with this area are examined using qualitative research computer analysis software. A re-conceptualized framework of trauma is introduced and utilized as a lens to examine cultural expression. This study examines gangsta rap music as a window into the qualitative phenomenological experiencing of trauma through the voices of African American rappers.

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