Hip-Hop in Memes

Memes have become a staple in society, particularly in internet culture. They’re a way for consumers of all forms of media to present their ideas, emotions and reactions to events that have either just occurred or are thousands of years old.

So it begs the question, why and how is it that memes are able to stay this relevant and this adaptable in so many different communities and circumstances. Countless times the same meme formats have been used for an infinite amount of varying niches and topics and never seem to run out of possibilities in it’s usage. 

One of the largest sources of memes is the Hip-Hop community and the artists themselves. Whether it be lyrics from songs or rappers acting absurd, a large portion of commonly used meme images and formats are derived from the music genre.

The audience for this content is enormous. There are discord servers, Instagram meme pages, Twitter accounts and even Facebook groups that place a heavy reliance on both making memes about Hip-Hop and using Hip-Hop references to make memes. Rappers such as Drake, Xzibit, Lil Wayne & Young Thug have all found themselves in the forefront of many Hip-Hop memes.

The term “meme” has been around for the better part of forty years after being coined by scholar Richard Dawkins in his 1996 book, The Selfish Gene. He used the term ‘memetics‘ to explain how ideas and concepts have the ability to mutate, replicate and develop over time. My media niche is therefore going to be Hip-Hop memes where I will explore their development, growth and utilisation in modern day memes. Ethnographically I will aim to investigate how Hip-Hop culture converges with other popular subjects and how the content created within the Hip-Hop audience is perceived by the wider public sphere.

“Ethnographic research is the study of the way of life (the culture) of a group,community or organization. It relies on extended periods of fieldwork.”

(Daymon, Hallway, 2010)

In doing so, I will use Instagram as a way to create a meme page based mainly around Hip-Hop and Rap, drawing heavily from topics from the music genre and using images and meme templates from them to create memes. This will be used as a way to further explore the way that these memes are interacted with by consumers as well as seeing if any further hip-hop memes are created or are popularised throughout the semester. In regards to the persona that will be created with this account, Christopher Moore has stated that “Persona’s are a collection of digital objects” (Moore, 2020) and in this instance the end goal is to create an online persona that is based around Hip Hop and Memes, this will also be heavily developed through the relationship that the account builds with it’s followers and the feedback it receives.

Reference List

  • Dawkins, R., 2016. The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press.
  • Daymon, C. and Holloway, I., 2011. Qualitative Research Methods in Public Relations and Marketing Communications. Routledge.

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