The Moral Priorities of Rap Listeners

Kalonji L.K. Nzinga, Douglas L. Medin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A cross-cultural approach to moral psychology starts from researchers withholding judgments about universal right and wrong and instead exploring what the members of a community subjectively perceive to be moral or immoral in their local context. This study seeks to identify the moral concerns that are most relevant to listeners of hip-hop music. We use validated psychological surveys including the Moral Foundations Questionnaire (Graham, Haidt, & Nosek 2009) to assess which moral concerns are most central to hip-hop listeners. Results show that hip-hop listeners prioritize concerns of justice and authenticity more than non-listeners and deprioritize concerns of respecting authority. These results suggest that the concept of the "good person" within hip-hop culture is fundamentally a person that is oriented towards social justice, rebellion against the status quo, and a deep devotion to keeping it real. Results are followed by a discussion of the role of youth subcultures in moral socialization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-342
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Cognition and Culture
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2018


  • cultural values
  • hip-hop culture
  • moral socialization
  • rap music
  • youth subculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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