The Study of a Cultural Phenomenon

Since hip hop emerged on the streets of the Bronx in the 1970s, it has made substantial contributions to music, dance, fashion, and the visual arts. It has also significantly influenced politics, education, racial identity, and urban culture, earning it a place in academia as a legitimate and fertile area of study that is growing quickly.  

Gale is proud to present the first authoritative, academically rigorous reference title that is squarely focused on Hip Hop Culture.


The St. James Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Culture includes over 500 pages organized into 210 articles that examine the history and contributions of hip hop to American and global culture. It provides an indispensable authoritative reference resource defining, exploring, and analyzing this significant aspect of culture and history.

Entries will provide information about the music (rap and DJing), dance (break dancing), and visual arts (graffiti) that are the artistic expressions of hip hop culture. This title features the people, places, events, and works that started the movement and established hip hop as a global phenomenon. Entries will also examine hip hop’s influence in other artistic arenas such as fashion, film, and poetry; its impact on education, politics, social activism, racial and ethnic identity, and globalization; and its many contributions to American, urban, black, and Latino culture.

This newly released title is an ideal companion to St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture.

ISBN: 9781410380821
500 Pages
Original Copyright 2018 | Published/Released February 2018

Areas of Study

Hip hop culture is studied within countless disciplines at the university level, including:

  • History 
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Design
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Art
  • Literature


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Reviews & Testimonials

"No single work can tell the entire story of hip-hop, but this encyclopedia, the first on the topic in more than a decade, comes close. From Sugarhill Gang’s 1979 hit “Rapper’s Delight” to the deaths of legends Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur to recent reality shows such as Love and Hip Hop, it’s all here. With color photos and extensive indexing and cross-¬referencing, this dazzling tome chronicles the evolution of a pivotal musical genre.”
– Library Journal's, Best Reference Book of the Year 2018 list.  

"An extensively thorough, though not exhaustive, resource for the student of hip-hop culture. Examples of main entries reflect an emphasis on diversity as well as the origins of the form: “9 Elements of Hip Hop,” “Misogyny in Rap,“ “Feminism in Hip Hop,” “Asian Hip Hop,” and “Nerdcore.”
Booklist, Top 10 Pop Culture Reference list

“In a field that has typically been underrepresented in reference literature but very visible in popular culture, this work will speak to those with or without prior knowledge of the genre. While hip-hop is commonly thought of as an American genre (often viewed as African American within a particular age group), this title also effectively emphasizes its evolution and representation in other global cultures.”
— Elizabeth Berndt-Morris, Music Reference and Research Services Librarian, Loeb Music Library, Harvard University

“What is nice about this volume is the rich number of color photographs. I highly recommend this book for the reference collections of high schools and universities.”
— Bradford Lee Eden, Dean of Library Services, Valparaiso University

“Beginning researchers would do well to browse through the articles listed in these separate categories to gain a better appreciation of hip-hop culture’s impact on the world.”
— Michael Ruzicka

Additional Details


View the Entry List (PDF)

View a Sample Entry (PDF)



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