Date of Award


Author's School

College of Arts & Sciences

Author's Program

African and African American Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (A.B.)




Being a "hard rapper," while a mark of legitimacy and skill in hip hop culture, can also be understood as an inherently masculine quality. Black male rappers have perpetuated this expectation in hip hop to be hard, to be gangsta, the "ultra-aggressive nigga," or the "badass thug" as Jason Nichols notes. Rappers must constantly be a threat to other rappers. However, cis-heteronormative understandings of femininity oppose this idea of hardness. Women are not expected to be hard. To be gangsta. To be the "ultra-aggressive nigga." Focusing Black women rappers from the 1990's to the current 2021 moment, this thesis utilizes visual-cultural and lyrical analysis to investigate how women queer masculinity in hip hop to be perceived as hard, and often harder than their male counterparts. I specifically highlight two Black women rappers, Da Brat and Young M.A., as case studies to further discuss queerness, and its association with being hard women, and hard rappers.


Lerone Martin

Additional Advisors

Jonathan Fenderson, Zachary Manditch-Prottas