Submission Date


Document Type




Second Department

African American and Africana Studies

Faculty Mentor

Rosa Abrahams

Second Faculty Mentor

Edward Onaci


Presented during the 21st Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 19, 2019 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Investigating the multiple functions of music, scholars from various fields have expressed that music can regulate moods and emotions while providing listeners a way to navigate their identity. Focusing primarily on the genre of rap, this research has placed the field of Music and Emotion in conversation with Hip-Hop studies. The field of Music and Emotion has thoroughly measured/examined listener thought processes, bodily response, and cultural influences when engaging with music. Despite the rise in scholarship addressing popular music and emotion, the field rarely includes popular music in its discussions unless, perhaps, the genre is jazz. Recognizing that there are cultural, social and political factors that influence the listener in addition to one’s current environment; the field of Hip-Hop studies provides an in-depth analysis on social forces often overlooked in Music and Emotion. Together these factors create the listener’s context which is a key component in the types of musical responses that occur in the Music and Emotion studies. Conversation across these disciplines has highlighted that popular music, especially rap, reflects aspects of identity which, in turn, impact one’s emotional response to music. This literature review is needed in order to further investigate claims of listener context being a powerful influence on emotion or mood. It also will provide each field insight on aspects of their research which are crucial yet, underrepresented in their field.

Open Access

Available to all.