Rap, Race and its Masks: When Frantz Fanon meets the Musical Work of Tyler, The Creator

Published 30.10.2021

This poster was presented on May 5, 2021 at the 24th Annual Symposium of Music Scholars in Finland. 

Gustavo Souza Marques is a PhD at University College Cork (UCC, Ireland)’s School of Music wherein researched the musical work of Tyler, The Creator having as main topics hip-hop, web culture, performance and critical race theory.


This video poster was originally presented at the 24th Annual Symposium of Music Scholars in Finland. It briefly presents and discusses the main topics of my current PhD dissertation on the musical work of African American rapper, music producer and entrepreneur Tyler, The Creator. Tyler is a dissident figure in American hip-hop culture who firstly emerged as an internet phenomenon on YouTube in his 19-year-old with his iconoclastic music video of “Yonkers” (2011). His early career was marked by gross-out humour ranging from homophobic slurs to rape fantasy narratives counterpointed by confessional lyrics embedded of self-loathing related to his family traumas and relationship problems. Tyler’s emotional approach was a watershed in American rap music for going against the grain of macho braggadocio in hip-hop’s mainstream industry. Later, Tyler’s discourse matured to a more embracing approach in which he stops with his misogynistic narratives to rap about homosexual experiences in his latest albums Flower Boy (2017) and IGOR (2019).

My research approached Tyler’s musical work through a postcolonialist and intersectional view on race, music, gender, culture and nationality in which the scholarly work of Frantz Fanon was central to encompass all these interconnected issues; especially due to the appearance of the concept of the white mask in some of Tyler’s music videos. Not only Fanon’s postulations but also bell hooks with her multivalent view on black masculinity in America was quite important to the development of my study. Other scholars such as Richard Schechner with his performance theories had major role in my postulations too. Currently, I am PhD candidate at University College Cork (UCC, Ireland) who soon will be defending this dissertation.

Gustavo Souza Marques: Rap, Race and its Masks: When Frantz Fanon meets the Musical Work of Tyler, The Creator