Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African American Studies


Herbert Ruffin


Hybridity, Music, Pan African

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Għana (pronounced A-na) is a rhyming conversational music form created on the island country of Malta, a country situated between southern Italy and Northern Africa. Hip-Hop was birthed in black and Latino urban communities in New York, where street cultures were isolated from white neighborhoods. Hip-Hop has had an overwhelming influence on the Black American community, as well as the entire U.S. society. Over the past three decades, Hip-Hop has influenced and uplifted the world by speaking up for generations and providing the voice for a group of people trying to deliver a message. This thesis explores how artists on the island of Malta in the present day are combining these genres (Għana and Hip-Hop), to use them as a social tool to impact music culture and democratic organization on the island. Furthermore, it delves into how the hybridity of Hip-Hop music and culture are used on the island as cultural markers to further the genre of Għana for an entire new generation of citizens. Through my research I delve into their historical dynamics as I seek to understand the relationship between the two forms. This work is vital because the black voice and body have a complex relationship to popular culture and because black images have often been used in disparaging ways. My findings suggest Hip-Hop has provided a musical outlet for Pan Africanism and, at the same time, it has influenced Għana. As I look into the cultural landscape of Malta, what becomes apparent is the dichotomic relationship of the culture to blackness and how that is expressed in its music. Looking at Maltese life through its musical expression is vital to the cultural and musical dialogue of the larger world.


Open Access



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