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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Rap and Hip-Hop Research Resources

This guide provides an overview of Rap and Hip-Hop resources available through the Music & Performing Arts Library and other libraries across campus.


This page includes resources for finding popular and scholarly articles about rap and hip-hop. We've included some suggested music databases below as well as recommendations of specific publications to check out in the next box. If you need a refresher on how to find articles through an academic database, check out our library guide.

Suggested Databases

The best place to find scholarly articles is in one of the library's databases. The University of Illinois subscribes to over a thousand different databases that can help you access the content you need. It can be overwhelming to know how to start searching, so we've pulled out a list of recommendations to get you started.

Music Periodicals Database and Music Index will provide more coverage of commercial journals while RILM will provide a more academic approach.

Publications of Rap & Hip-Hop Material

There are four major types of publications to be aware of when researching rap and hip-hop:

1. Commercial journals and magazines such as VIBE, Billboard, and The Source.

2. General new sources such as the New York Times and The Village Voice.  

3. Scholarly journals such as Popular Music and Popular Music and Society.

4. African American Studies scholarly and popular publications such as Journal of Black Studies and Ebony.

We've included several recommended sources of each type to start with in the box below. If you're just looking for a place to browse, use the tabs to explore the different types of publications available through the Library.

Looking for a specific journal? Check the library catalog or our Journal and Article Locator tool to see if we have it in print and/or online.

Recommended Publications