Senior Thesis Connects Sociology and Hip-Hop

Princeton senior Lorenzo Laing and his thesis advisor, Carol Stack. Image courtesy of Danielle Alio, Office of Communications.

Princeton University senior Lorenzo Laing likes hip-hop music for a number of reasons: It provides an enjoyable listening experience and a good beat for dancing, and its lyrical content often reflects on societal issues important to Laing.

The New York City native is devoting his senior thesis in sociology to studying how queer hip-hop artists of color are trying to integrate themselves into a genre that has been seen as homophobic and that treats heterosexuality as the preferred sexual orientation.

"I understand that hip-hop music can be problematic and that those problems aren't necessarily justifiable, but sociology has taught me that those problems can be explained," Laing said. "In doing so, we go beyond superficial understandings that can be potentially dangerous of the genre and of the people who make the music and consume it."

The full story and a video can be found on the University homepage. See the Office of Undergraduate Research for more on planning a senior thesis.