SOAN-336: Anthropology of Art

Document Type

Student Paper

Publication Date




Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

Students across the globe are familiar with the YouTube phenomenon of the ‘Lofi Girl’ and her ‘lofi hip hop radio [beats to relax/study to]’. The YouTube livestream hosting chilled-out music has become a beacon for those trying to accomplish tasks, study for exams, or relax. But, how has this livestream managed to amass a subscription base of over fourteen million? What draws people to this webpage, and what keeps them coming back? This paper examines the development, features, and online participation of lofi hip hop. As explored in the paper, the genre of lofi hip hop is a syncretic soundform that originates from lo-fidelity and hip hop music, as well as the cultural facets that establish both of the preceding genres. The music allows for listeners to escape the feeling of being trapped by '24/7' capitalism and other such components of modern life, and also allows for a unique interaction with nostalgia and older digital media. Additionally, this work provides an exploratory analysis of potential Orientalism that could emerge from a medium that relies on Japanese imagery. Lastly, the structure of the digital audience is examined in a manner that forwards previous anthropological theory. At large, this inquiry into lofi hip hop and the digital audience that consume the artform provide a unique window into supportive online spaces that hold unique value for each listener. The reader is encouraged to listen to the Lofi Girl's livestream as they read this paper.


Attached is an edited presentation that I gave to my class regarding a portion of my work. It includes my own attempt at creating a lofi hip hop track, which I modeled after a theme from Avatar: The Last Airbender. This slideshow is best for understanding the Zones of Spectatorship analysis. Feel free to contact me for the full materials, or if you want me to further explain a confusing concept.

Additional Files:

Final Digital Commons Copy.pdf (3249 kB)
This is an edited version of a short presentation that I gave to my classmates regarding a portion of my work. This powerpoint is best for understanding the Zones of Spectatorship analysis.

Included in

Anthropology Commons