Professor Travis Dixon studies how stereotypes influence and affect audiences of media content. In a recent collaborative project, Professor Dixon investigated the prevalence of stereotypes associated with rap music, such as substance abuse, misogyny, and violence. His project found that such stereotypes can be attributed the way marketers promote rap albums more than the content of the music itself.
“When people think about hip hop or think about music, they tend to think of the main industry troupes when it comes to the music,” Dixon said. “And it’s easy to fall into that; a lot of scholars fall into that. Scholars have spent a lot of time writing about how hip-hop is full of stereotypes and misogyny and all of that.”
Dixon and his co-author examined hundreds of songs, as well as the mediums in which they were consumed and shared; many of the lyrics were shared on Facebook. The findings are productive for how we think about the types of messages audiences gravitate toward, as well as how stereotypes regarding certain genres of music compare with the reality of the media content itself.