Shake it, Baby, Shake it: Consumption and the New Gender Relation in Hip-Hop

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2011




Hip-hop is a popular music genre that has generated a multi-billion dollar industry. Although its gender and race relations have historically been problematic, they have recently transformed in particular ways. This study examines the forty-one best-selling rap videos of 2007–2008. Through a qualitative content analysis of videos and lyrics several themes emerged. Hip-hop's focus on conspicuous consumption, buttressed by the success of entrepreneurial rap moguls, has merged with strip club culture to create a new gender relation based on sexual transaction. The “rap lifestyle,” marketed to consumers through multiple media outlets, focuses on the consumption of designer clothes, jewelry, cars, and liquor, often sold by the rap moguls' companies. Rap music videos advertise these products, as well as the consumption of women of color's sexual performances. The new hip-hop gender relation has also transformed the politics of dancing to fit the strip club themes of consumption and sexual transaction.