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What is a Hip Hop Scholar?

May 24, 20232 min read

“Hip Hop is a Global Phenomenon that has touched the lives of people all over the world.” - Queen Latifah


A hip hop scholar is a person who studies hip hop culture and its impact on society and he/she has not been coerced or influenced by "The Invaders."

They may be academics, journalists, or artists who use their expertise to explore the history, politics, music, art, and language of hip hop.

Hip hop scholars often use their work to promote social justice and to challenge stereotypes about hip hop culture.

Key Differences

The key difference is there are internal and external Scholars.

An internal scholar is one who is a Primary Resource on Hip Hop:

a person that was part of the Founders Era in the Hip Hop Movement

a person that is considered a Griot in an area of Hip Hop (Yeeking, Breakdancing, Popping/Locking, Rapping, Beatboxing, Finger Drumming, Table Drumming, Graffiti Art, DJing and Turntablism, etc.)

An external scholar is one who is a Secondary Resource on Hip Hop.

However, it must be noted, it is the "Cultural Love" that drives the Hip Hop Scholar to personify Mother Hip Hop.

Key Areas

Some of the key areas of study for hip hop scholars include:

  • The history of hip hop

  • The social and political impact of hip hop

  • The music of hip hop

  • The art of hip hop

  • The language of hip hop

  • The culture of hip hop

Methods of Research

Hip hop scholars use a variety of methods to conduct their research, including:

  • Archival research

  • Interviews

  • Participant observation

  • Content analysis

  • Critical discourse analysis

The Scholarship

Hip hop scholars often publish their work in academic journals, books, and magazines.

They may also present their work at conferences and other public events.

Hip hop scholarship is a growing field of study that is helping to shed light on the complex and multifaceted nature of hip hop culture. Hip hop scholars are making important contributions to our understanding of hip hop's history, its impact on society, and its potential to promote social justice.


  • Kelvin Walton

  • DJ Smash (Kelvin's Brother)

  • Miquiel Banks (The Hip Hop Evangelist)

  • KRS-One

  • Tricia Rose

  • Robin Kelley

  • Bakari Kitwana

  • Jeff Chang

  • Nelson George

  • Michael Eric Dyson

  • Cornel West

  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

  • bell hooks

  • Angela Davis

These scholars have all made significant contributions to our understanding of hip hop culture.

Their work has helped to legitimize hip hop as a legitimate form of art and culture, and it has helped to raise awareness of the social and political issues that are often addressed in hip hop music and lyrics.

Homework Questions

  1. What is a Griot?

  2. What is an internal Hip Hop Scholar?

  3. What is an external Hip Hop Scholar?

  4. What is Hip Hop Scholarship?

  5. Can you name 5 Internal Hip Hop Scholars?

  6. Can you name 5 External Hip Hop Scholars?

  7. Can you name 3 ATL Hip Hop Scholars?

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Miquiel Banks

Miquiel Banks is the Power behind his Educational Site, The Hip Hop Evangelist. His site is dedicated to cultivating and preserving ATL Hip Hop and Yeek Culture.

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