Sam Cannova, an avid listener of rap music, researches the interplay of hip hop culture and social discourse, collecting and analyzing hip hop artifacts with a focus on South Africa. Through the Kellogg International Scholars Program, he collects and analyzes hip-hop artifacts, engages in media analysis, and performs ethnography, supplementing his work by the tracing international dialogue between American and South African hip hop.

In late summer of 2019, Cannova travelled to Cape Town, South Africa for independent research through an Experiencing the World Fellowship. While there, he engaged in ethnographic studies and interviews with OG, mainstream, and underground rappers, creatives, and community activists.

This year, Cannova will write his senior thesis on the topic by tracing a key storylines and extracting core insights through the style of new journalism, grounding entry points of analysis through vignettes of his experiences in Cape Town.

Program of Liberal Studies
Business Economics
Philosophy, Politics & Economics
Current Research

Research Interests
I am fascinated by the role that hip hop culture plays in social movements. I seek to investigate how underground artists globalize and adapt their art to protest injustice and oppression.

Current Research
I am currently focused on the development and impact of hip hop in South Africa. Much of this includes tracing the references, roots, and reach of different works, from rap songs to graffiti, and their messages, particularly in relation to race and ethnicity.


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