Musical Artists Capitalizing on Hybrid Identities
A Case Study of Drake the "Authentic" "Black" "Canadian" "Rapper"
This study is an exploration of identity politics through an examination of the ways in which musical artists use the medium of music videos to create marketable, hybrid identities. With the rise of social media and the online consumption of information, music videos play a central role in global, cultural flows. I argue that hybrid identities are constructed by musical artists to gain popularity through the form of ethno-marketing. I include literature surrounding diaspora and hybridity to understand how hybrid identities become a production of heritage and human capital. By utilizing music videos specifically to construct their hybrid identities, musical artists are simultaneously enforcing and being subjected to economic, cultural, and political forms of exploitation. My methodology draws upon a multimodal discourse analysis (LeVine & Scollon, 2004) which assesses how meaning is made through the use of multiple modes of communication. I apply multimodality to the construction of music videos in which musical artists selectively chose particular sounds, images, and lyrics to claim specific identities. As articulated through the case study of Drake, I examine how the multimodal affordances of music videos allow artists to transcend borders within the digital age and reach a large audience. This study examines Drake’s bricolage of complex and intersectional identities and his unique privilege to choose to identify with different marginal communities. I assess how Drake capitalizes on shared experiences and struggles of different cultural, national, and class backgrounds though three of his music videos: “HYFR (Hell Yeah Fuckin’ Right)” (2011), “Started From The Bottom” (2011), and “Worst Behavior” (2013). Drake alludes to different cultures, locations, and social identities through these music videos to construct his place as a rapper in the music industry and articulates a hybrid identity as an “Authentic” Black/ Jewish, American/Canadian, working class member of society, and high-class rapper.
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