Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access


African American and Africana Studies

Faculty Mentor

Patricia Lott

Second Faculty Mentor

Edward Onaci

Project Description

African Americans, with some Latino influence, created hip hop beginning in the early 1970s. Early artists used hip hop to voice their frustrations with a society in which urban African Americans were oppressed, powerless, vulnerable, and underrepresented. Since then, the rapid advancement of the internet has helped spread hip hop globally, and a diversity of artists have contributed to its evolution and growth. Indeed, countries like Ghana and Great Britain have well-known and established movements, each with their own unique adaptations of the artform. This begs the question: Do different hip hop communities built by people outside of the United States count as cultural appropriation? To explore that question, this research examines secondary scholarship and primary internet sources related to hip hop’s origins and its various elements to complicate the meaning of appropriation. It also investigates the commercialization and commodification of hip hop-based products within the broader societies where hip hop culture flourishes. Ultimately, it seeks to develop a better understanding of the different hip hop movements across the globe. In appreciating their uniqueness, it explores the meaning of appropriation and how one may distinguish borrowing and collaboration from theft and exploitation.


Presented during the 23rd Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 23, 2021 at Ursinus College.


Available to Ursinus community only.