Launched in Fall 2019, The Word is a fresh as hell student hiphop research journal that aims to embody the founding spirit and purpose of hiphop: providing a mode of creative expression and voice to marginalized communities, inspiring activism, and making a way outta no way. We define hiphop as encompassing the traditional “5 elements” of MCing, DJing/producing, graffiti writing, breakdancing, and dropping science/knowledge (what we’re doing right here) as well as the elements of fashion and style; blogging and social media writing; and TV, films, plays, and novels. 

We pursue our goals through the publication of student research on hiphop culture, reporting on happenings in the hiphop community, and providing access and mentorship to undergraduates, especially undergraduates marginalized by race, class, gender, and/or sexuality, as they participate in the academic practices of critical discussion, peer review, revision, and publication.

Through our activities, we pursue the mission of

  • Supporting undergraduates, especially undergraduates marginalized by race, class, gender, and/or sexuality, in the writing, revising, research and publication process through a mentorship-based open peer referee model that mentors both undergraduate writers and editors and graduate student reviewers in how academic publishing works; 
  • Forwarding a hiphop feminist agenda in hiphop studies that always recognizes and often centers the experiences and artistry of Black and Brown women, girls, trans people, queer people, and femmes and critiques misogyny and homophobia in hiphop by maintaining gender as a critical lens;
  • Elevating evolving hiphop conversations through a hiphop studies perspective through published material and public events;
  • Creating community between hiphop scholars (at the undergrad, grad, faculty, staff level) across multiple institutions, starting at Stanford; and  
  • Supporting critical writing and research practices through published materials on research, style(shifting), and citation practices with a hiphop point of view.

Our team includes:

Thebe K Moloko


TK is a master's student studying Public Policy and Economics. His connection to hiphop stems not only from his love for the genre but also from his initial introduction to music being soul, R&B, gospel, and jazz, featuring many artists that are continually sampled and remixed into modern day hiphop music. TK was the Founding Business Manager of the journal.

Savanna Stewart


Savanna is a junior double majoring in Political Science and Communication with a minor in Spanish. Music has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember, but, having grown up in a rural farming town, her exposure to hiphop was largely limited to the context of sports practice and competition while she was in high school. Consequently, she is most interested in the relationship between the worlds of hiphop and sports, specifically basketball, and how the two have influenced each other and the relationship has developed over time. Savanna joined the Word as a Founding Editorial Board Member.

Joshua Clarendon

Business Manager

Joshua is a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering. He has always been enthralled by the culture of hiphop. He first got hooked by Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne, and has been a devoted rap disciple ever since. As a fan of Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, Joshua’s favorite parts of rap have always been the lyricism of it, and the variety of ways the artists can express themselves. Joshua joined the Word as a founding Editorial Board member.

Tessa Brown, Ph.D.

Founding Advisor

Tessa is a Lecturer in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric where she teaches PWR 1: Hashtag Activism, PWR 2: Hiphop, Orality, and Language Diversity, and co-teaches PWR 194: Introduction to Cultural Rhetorics. She studies hiphop literacies, translingualism, critical whiteness studies, intersectional feminism, and histories of higher education. Helping found The Word has been a dream come true.

Hank Tian

Founding Editor

Hank was a Founding Editor before graduating in 2020 with a BS in Symbolic Systems. As a kid, his first exposure to hiphop came in the form of an Enter the Wu-Tang CD his cousin shared with him. He’s particularly interested in the ways people form and establish identity through hiphop, especially Asian and Asian-American hiphop artists. Outside of hiphop, Hank also does theater and plays steelpan.

Apollo Rydzik

Founding Editor

Apollo was a Founding Editor before graduating in 2020 with a BA in Sociology. Before transferring to Stanford, he attended Foothill Community College. Apollo has been listening to hiphop ever since he was young, and has vivid memories of hearing Nas, Talib Kweli, and Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony while being driven to school by his dad. Aside from hiphop, Apollo is passionate about criminal justice reform, reading, and chocolate ice cream.