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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.


Welcome to the Rap and Hip-Hop Research LibGuide!  As popular music studies become more recognized in music academia, we hope that you take the opportunity to research this music and culture. The Music & Performing Arts Library, Main Library, and Residence Hall Libraries hold many helpful resources about rap and hip-hop, in multiple formats including books, recordings, and journals.

Use the tabs to the left to navigate the guide and see a sampling of the resources we have available.

For researching breaking/break dancing, check out MPAL's Dance Resources LibGuide.

For researching graffiti, the resources found on the Ricker Library of Architecture and Art's homepage may also be useful.

Tips for Exploring the Collection

Using the tabs to the left will show you the resources we've highlighted in this guide, but the books included here are just a small sampling of what is available in the collection. If you want to do some searching on your own, the library catalog is your best gateway for discovering research material.

Search Options

You can search the library catalog by keyword or by subject. When you do a keyword search, you are searching for words or phrases that can be found anywhere in the text of an item record. This can be a great way to find a large number of results! That said, you might also get results that are only tangentially related to your topic if your keyword is mentioned in the record, but it isn't a main subject of the work.

When you do a subject search, you are searching using a term from a pre-defined controlled vocabulary of headings used to classify materials in our catalog. This will give you more targeted results than doing a simple keyword search because you will only see results that were assigned the subject heading you searched with.

How to Search by Subject:

  • Open the library catalog and click on "Advanced Search" to the right of the search bar
  • Underneath "Search filters", you'll see that the default is set to "Any Field"
  • Click on the arrow next to "Any Field" and select "Subject" from the drop-down menu
  • Try a search with one of the subject headings recommended below
  • Once you've found a relevant book in the catalog, you can also use the subjects listed in the record to find additional related materials

Suggested Subject Headings for Rap and Hip-Hop:

  • Rap (Music)
  • Rap (Music) -- History and criticism
  • Rap (Music) -- Social aspects
  • Rap musicians
  • Hip Hop
  • Hip Hop -- Influence
  • Hip Hop -- Social aspects
  • Hip Hop -- United States
  • Turntablists
  • Hip Hop Dance
  • Break Dancing
  • Graffiti
  • Graffiti Artists