Materialism, vulgarism, and profane themes in Nigeria’s hip hop music videos
A content analysis
Describing the Nigerian Hip Hop music industry as the latest religion, and the youth as its true adherents may not be far from reality. As a genre of music that was adapted from the Western world, particularly the United States, the Nigerian brand of Hip Hop is setting a pace in African entertainment. Whereas the industry has become mainstreamed with overwhelming acceptance across our society, its didactic definition of success to our youths is becoming extremely worrisome. By means of vulgar and profane lyrical contents, excessive display of luxury, status and the “good life”, the Nigerian Hip Hop music ingress into the psyche of our youths: distracting them from productive causes and engaging them in frivolities. Materialism, vulgarism and profane themes are now fundamental message within Hip Hop, but these factors have received little attention in extant research. As a result, this study examines the underlying meanings and extent of material, vulgar and profane themes in Nigeria’s Hip Hop music videos. With a total of 185 hip hop music videos, selected by means of a purposive sampling procedure, a content analysis design was adopted. Two independent coders were trained for the content analysis. The reliability of the selected videos was determined through Cohen’s kappa (k) symmetric measure of agreement. The result yielded 0.782 (78 percent), representing a good measure of agreement. Equally, a focus group discussion method was used to select eight Hip Hop fans who spoke about the effects of these themes on Nigerian youths. Findings revealed, among others, that the extent to which the analyzed music videos projected themes concerning materialism, vulgarity and profanity was very high and that excessive amount of jewelry, luxury brand apparel, expensive cars, derogatory lyrics and objectification of women were key messages in the videos. The study also found that exposure to these themes might have undesirable consequences on young people’s perception of success. The study therefore recommends among others that Nigerian Hip Hop musicians be reoriented in their values and encouraged to promote themes devoid of materialism, vulgarism and profanity in their videos.