Saturation Season: Inclusivity, Queerness, and Esthetics in the New Media Practices of Brockhampton

New publication announcement! My coauthor Kai Arne Hansen and I wrote a research article on Brockhampton’s media practices during the release of the Saturation album trilogy, which raise questions about digitalisation, social inclusion, and the democratisation of culture. The article is part of a special issue of Popular Music and Society (44.5) on music, digitalisation, … Read more

Hip hop’s hold over Top 100 albums, 2000–2020

The story of hip hop’s commercial success in the 21st century is one of a steady decline followed by a striking ascent. At the turn of the millennium, hip hop held a major presence on the charts, but never accounted for more than a sixth of the best-selling albums. By the end of 2020, hip … Read more

Towards an ethical model of social media data analysis for internet music studies

This is the script of a paper I gave at the conference Information Overload? Music Studies in the Age of Abundance, hosted online by the University of Birmingham on 8 September 2021. For more info, see the UKRI AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellowship Music and the Internet: Towards a digital sociology of music. Introduction Scholars … Read more

How do rap lyrics address the internet?

This may form part of the introduction to a forthcoming monograph, provisionally titled Digital Flows: Internet-Based Hip Hop Music and Culture. Hip-hop artists get a bad rap for writing about the same old things. Often, criticism is levelled at lyrics associated with materialism, consumerism, misogyny, drugs, and violence. Although these themes – and the racial, … Read more

How Music Empowers publication

My book, How Music Empowers: Listening to Modern Rap and Metal, is published today by Routledge (Taylor & Francis). I’m very grateful to everyone who offered advice or support during the writing process. The pricing – especially the hardback – is steep indeed in line with all new Routledge texts, although a paperback will follow … Read more

Beats, Online, and Life: lofi hip hop during COVID-19 (part 2)

For the first post on lofi hip hop before and during COVID-19, please see here. Lofi as a genre, and its antecedents To what extent can lofi hip hop be considered a genre, and to what extent do its producers, curators, and listeners participate in a virtual community? At present, there is a broad understanding … Read more

Gendered Commentary on ‘WAP’ (Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion)

Introduction This blog post examines YouTube comments on ‘WAP’, performed by Cardi B and featuring Megan Thee Stallion. The aim is to demonstrate some of the data collection and thematic analysis methods that inform the Digital Flows research project, so it can be considered a small pilot study of sorts. In what follows, I’ll introduce … Read more

‘London Calling’: IASPM UK&I 2020 Conference Presentation

I’m giving a prerecorded online presentation for the 15th IASPM UK&I conference. My paper is in Session 1: Multiculturalism and Diaspora., a session which features some excellent scholars. I highly recommend watching Mykaell Riley’s keynote, which details the Bass Culture project, as well as the other individual papers. My paper is titled “This is London … Read more

On Musical Meaning as Messages; or, why Ace of Base probably aren’t Nazis

[TW: racism, anti-Semitism, suicide] How powerfully can music affect us? This week I was linked to an article, now a couple of years old, that argues the Swedish dance pop group Ace of Base were responsible for tricking millions of Americans into supporting Nazist beliefs. Okay, Cracked isn’t known for especially reliable and coherent writing, … Read more