This guide is designed to help you research information about hip hop and rap. It includes an index of scholarly sources that should be used. Included in the list are websites and search engines that will be helpful in your research. If you have any trouble finding these sources, please ask a librarian for help. Good Luck! Any comments or suggestions are welcome! (add any course specific information if needed)
  • RCC Library Home Page: Most materials found in this research guide are available at the library's home page.
  • Reference desk: Please contact us if you have any questions concerning this guide or research.



The online catalog provides access to the Library's collection of approximately 40,000 books, periodicals and audio-visual titles. These resources may be used to find information for assignments or general interest.

Tutorial for searching catalog and ordering books from Metro Boston Library Network (includes Boston Public Library)

Good Search Terms to use: words or phrase

  • Graffiti
  • Hip-hop
  • Hip-hop dance
  • Rap
  • Rap (music)
  • Rap musicians
  • Street art

Circulating Books

Price III, Emma G. The Black Church and Hip Hop Culture: Toward Bridging the Generational Divide. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2012. Print.
Call Number: BR563.N4 B5645 2012

Rausch, Andrew J. I am Hip-Hop: Conversations on the Music and Culture. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2011. Print.
Call Number:ML394 .R387 2011

Pate, Alexs D. In the Heart of the Beat: the Poetry of Rap. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2010. Print.
Call Number: ML3531 .P38 2010

Michael Eric Dyson and Sohail Daulatzai. Born to Use Mics: Reading Nas's Illmatic. New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2010. Print.
Call Number: ML420.N344B67 2010

Jay-Z. Decoded. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2010. Print.
Call Number: ML420.J29 A3 2010

Bradley, Adam. The Anthology of Rap. New Haven : Yale University Press, 2010. Print.
Call Number: ML3531 .A57 2010

KRS-One for the Temple of HipHopBrooklyn. The Gospel of Hip Hop: First Instrument NY: PowerHouse Books: I Am Hip Hop, 2009. Print.
Call Number: E185.86.K75 2009

Marc Lamont Hill. Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity. New York ; London : Teachers College Press, 2009. Print.
Call Number: LC5131.H45 2009

Dyson, Michael. Between God and Gangsta Rap: Bearing Witness to Black Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Print.
Call Number: E 185.86.D94 1996

Price, E. G. Hip Hop Culture. Santa Barbara, CA.: ABC-CLIO, 2006. Print.
Call Number: ML 3531.P75 2006


Huntington, C. S. Hip Hop Dance: Meanings and Messages. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2007. Print.
Call Number: GV 1796.H57 H86 2007

Kitwana, B. The Hip Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture. New York: Basic Civitas, 2002. Print.
Call Number: E 185.86.K58 2002

Watkins, S. C. Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement. Boston: Beacon Press, c2005. Print.
Call Number: ML 3531.W38 2005

Tanz, J. Other People's Property: A Shadow History of Hip-Hop in White America. New York: Bloomsbury, c2007. Print.
Call Number: E 184.A1 T36

Ayazi-Hashjin, Sherry. Rap and Hip Hop: The Voice of a Generation. New York: Rosen Pub., 1999. Print.
Call Number: ML 3531.A93 1999

Kitwana, B. Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop: Wangstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality of Race in America. New York: Basic Civitas, 2006. Print.
Call Number: ML3531.K58 2006


The Languages of Global Hip-Hop

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How to Rap: the Art and Science of the Hip-Hop MC

From kung fu to hip hop globalization, revolution, and popular culture.

The Hip-Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip-Hop and Why it Matters

Know What I Mean?: Reflections on Hip Hop

Painting Without Permission: Hip-Hop Graffiti Subculture

Reference Books

Kontos, Louis and David C. Brotherton, eds. Encyclopedia of gangs. Westport Greenwood Press, 2008. Print.
Call Number: Ref. HV6439.U5 E53 2008
The entry "rap music" talks about gansta rap, commercial rap, and rap's connection to gangs. The entry "gang and non-gang graffiti" talks about hip-hop graffiti. There is also an entry called "gang graffiti: east coast. vs. west coast."

Reisner, Robert George and Lorraine Wechsler. Encyclopedia of graffiti. New York: Macmillan, 1974. Print.
Call Number: Ref. GT3912. R44
A historical look at graffiti found all over the world, from ancient Rome to 1970s America. Because the book was published in 1974, it doesn't cover latter-day graffiti.


Hip Hop: Beyond beats and rhymes. Hurt, B. (director).Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation, 2008. Film.
Call Number: DVD ML 3531.H57 2008.


Pop Culture Universe

Pop Culture Universe: Icons | Idols | Ideas (PCU) is an authoritative, yet irresistible, digital library of information on American and world popular culture, past and present—in a package as dynamic as the topic it covers.

African American Experience

This database is a collection of primary sources and articles on African American history and life from it’s roots in Africa to the present. It includes extensive resources on rap, hip hop, and djs (look for "Rap and Hip Hop" under Music in the subject list).

Biography in Context

Search for rap and hip-hop artists by name or browse by category.

BPL Music Databases

Music databases from the Boston Public Library. You can use your RCC library barcode for access.

Credo Reference

Search rap or hip hop in "all subjects" and you'll get hundreds of hits; you can narrow the results by subject, type of publication, date, etc.

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center is a one-stop source for information on today's hottest social issues. Drawing on acclaimed series published by Greenhaven Press and other Gale imprints, OVRC features viewpoint articles, topic overviews, full-text magazine, academic journal, and newspaper articles, primary source documents, statistics, images and podcasts, and links to Websites.

Academic OneFile

Provides around 360 articles under the subject of Hip hop.

Academic Search Premier 1984

Provides around 2700 articles under the subject of Hip hop.

Web sites

There are many helpful web sites about abortion. The web sites listed below have been evaluated by library staff. Remember to always evaluate internet resources. To find out more about evaluating web sites, Cornell University has an informative guide.

Cornell University's Hip Hop Collection
Send any inquiries about their collection to hiphopcollection@cornell.edu to access materials.

Hip Hop Research Guide by Columbia College
This web page provides a list of resources relating to rap music and hip hop culture.

Citing Sources: Style Guides

APA Style Tutorial

Laguardia Community College Library MLA and APA citation style

The Owl at Purdue: APA Formatting and Style Guide

The Owl at Purdue: MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide

Basic Research Help

Please click the Ask a Librarian icon if you have any questions concerning these guides, need help finding material for your research or any general questions you might have.

General Library Information

Research guide prepared on 11/06/09 by Katharine Dunn; updated on 3/15/14 by Joy Singletary.