Gangsta Rap 101

With this assignment we begin our second textbook, Eithne Quinn’s Nuthin’ but a “g” thang: The Culture and Commerce of Gangsta Rap.


  • Quinn, 1-40


Reading/Listening Guide

“The general thrust of this study is that gangsta’s very real political energies lay in the struggle to come to terms with an age in which there was a dramatic decline in popular protest politics, precisely for a community that had a vital protest history” (Quinn 30).

Chapter 2: Gangsta’s Rap,” is subdivided. A great study technique is to summarize in your own words the major ideas presented in each section:

  1. Introduction
  2. “Gangsta and the Burden of Representation” (19)
  3. The Rap on Gangsta: History and Poetics” (22)
  4. The Rap on Gangsta: Politics and Culture” (27)
  5. Gangsta’s Rap: “Why do I Call Myself a ‘Nigga’?” (32)
  6. Gangsta’s Rap: “Vernacular Theory” (38)


Please don’t try to answer all of these questions in your first posting. Instead, use them as a way into your own thoughts about the reading and the music.

  • In what ways does 1990s gangsta rap continue to influence contemporary hip hop?
  • Are gangsta rap and/or its descendants valuable? Why?
  • Which of the four approaches outlined by Quinn is closest to your own ways of thinking about the music (19-20)?