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Cheques or dating scams? Online fraud themes in hip-hop songs across popular music apps

Lazarus, Suleman ORCID: 0000-0003-1721-8519, Olaigbe, Olatunji, Adeduntan, Ayo, Dibiana, Edward t. and Okolorie, Geoffrey u. (2023) Cheques or dating scams? Online fraud themes in hip-hop songs across popular music apps. Journal of Economic Criminology, 2. p. 100033. ISSN 2949-7914

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jeconc.2023.100033


How do hip-hop songs produced from 2017 to 2023 depict and rationalize online fraud? This study examines the depiction of online fraudsters in thirty-three Nigerian hip-hop songs on nine popular streaming platforms such as Spotify, Deezer, iTunes, SoundCloud, Apple Music, and YouTube. Using a directed approach to qualitative content analysis, we coded lyrics based on the moral disengagement mechanism and core themes derived from existing literature. Our findings shed light on how songs (a) justify the fraudulent actions of online fraudsters, (b) blame and dehumanize victims of online romance fraud, (c) glamorize online fraud, and (d) provide insights into prevailing attitudes, indigenous linguistics, and worldviews regarding cybercrime victimization. Specifically, our analysis shows the presence of moral disengagement mechanisms, including "dehumanization," “minimizing own agency,” and "displacement of responsibility." Moreover, we identify core contextual themes pertinent to online fraud in the Nigerian context: (a) "cyber spiritualism" and (b) "the North-South divide." This research underscores the global influence of musicians whose songs are easily accessible on diverse music platforms in trivializing the plight of online fraud victims. We argue that these artists' persuasive messages not only downplay but also satirize the victims' predicaments, thus contributing to the cultural worldviews and dimensions of online fraud. We conclude by underscoring these songs' capacity to actualize, reshape, and actively engage with the narratives of glamorization, justification, spiritualism, colonial legacies, gender dynamics, and societal implications. We recommend that future research endeavors explore non-conventional data sources adept at capturing the intricate fabric of cultural attitudes and dynamics.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Social Policy
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2023 09:15
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 04:16

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