Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Women's Studies

First Advisor

Amira Jarmakani

Second Advisor

Layli Maparyan

Third Advisor

Juliana Kubala


This thesis interrogates gangsta hip-hop for the unique attention it plays to the drug trade. I read theories of hypervisibility/invisibility and Louis Althusser’s theory of interpellation alongside hip-hop feminist theory to examine the Black female criminal subjectivity that operates within hip-hop. Using methods of discourse analysis, I question the constructions of gangster femininity in rap lyrics as well as the absences of girlhood on Season 4 of HBO’s television drama The Wire. In doing so, I argue that the discursive construction of Black female subjectivity within gangsta hip-hop provides a hypervisibility that portrays Black women as violent while simultaneously erasing the broader social processes that impact the lives of Black women and girls. Hip-hop feminism allows the cultural formations of hip-hop to be read against the politics that structure the lives of women of color in order to provide a lens for analyzing how their criminality is constructed through media.