Keepin’ it real: Authenticity, commercialization, and the media in Korean hip hop

Sarah Hare, Andrea Jean Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines authenticity in South Korean hip hop culture. Building on subcultural theory and cultural hybridization theory, it explores authenticity dynamics in this scene, and the role of the local media as a cultural mediator. Data were collected using a mixed-methods approach over two stages. Stage 1 was a quantitative content analysis of seminal South Korean hip hop program, Show Me the Money. Stage 2 comprised of qualitative participant observation in Seoul hip hop night clubs, and eight semistructured interviews with rappers and journalists. Key findings suggest there is a constant struggle between authenticity and commodification, where commodification dominates the South Korean hip hop scene. This work contributes to the interdisciplinary field of journalism studies by aligning itself with cultural theory to widen the Western view of South Korean hip hop.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • authenticity
  • cultural hybridization
  • Korean hip hop
  • Show Me the Money
  • subculture

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