''Can't C Me''

Title''Can't C Me'': Surveillance and Rap Music
Publication TypeArticle
Year of Publication2010
AuthorNielson, Erik
Newspaper/MagazineJournal of Black Studies
Publication Languageeng
Copies at the Archive1

Rap music has always been under surveillance, and the purpose of this article is to explore the most significant ways that the genre has been influenced by it. It begins with an overview of some of the ways in which surveillance has played a crucial role in the emergence of hip hop in general and rap in particular. It then uses a close analysis of 2Pac's track "Can't C Me" as a point of departure for a broader discussion of the way many of rap's lyrical, structural, and thematic features can be interpreted as a response to the perception of being watched. As this article will demonstrate, despite rap's ostensible emphasis on visibility and recognition, these features indicate a countervailing strain in rap's aesthetic, one that favors invisibility and anonymity.

first published on January 23, 2009