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Friday 20 April 2018

The influence of the ‘hip-hop lifestyle’ on the possession and use of weapons by young male gang members in the UK

Danielle Ward


Following the recent media interest over the apparent increase of gang violence and weapon use, and the government initiatives aimed at curbing gang involvement, it seems that any influencing factors must be acknowledged in order to effectively tackle the issue. This paper explores the supposed influence that 'hip-hop' has on young male gang members and their willingness to carry and use weapons. A systematic review of the literature and a qualitative content analysis of six hip-hop songs from the last decade confirm that three prominent themes are consistent with both the attitudes and behaviours expressed by young people, and the music that they might listen to. These themes are 'drug-dealing', 'territoriality', and at the heart of the majority of literature and hip-hop songs, as well as the activities that young male gang members engage in, is the need for social identity in the form of 'street-cred', status, power and most importantly, respect.


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