Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Terrance McAdoo

First Reader

Dr. Guillermo Wippold

Second Reader

Dr. Guillermo Wippold


This paper examines the role of modern-day rappers and how they affect the growing mental health crisis for young adult males. Recently, an “emo-rap” genre has emerged where vulnerability is common, and rappers share both their mental health struggles and experiences with drug use. The degree to which these artists have influenced their listeners is unclear, and perceptions of them are polarized. There are some who view them as villains who sponsor violence and drug use and others who view them as heroes who break down societal barriers and build supportive networks among their listeners.

Based on the existing scientific literature surrounding mental health, research on the impacts of rap music, analyses of cases in popular media, and a study conducted on a representative sample of young adult males, this study argues for a holistic look on these artists and provides recommendations for how these rappers could improve their influence on their listeners and the general public.

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© 2023, Jared J McCabe