This introductory chapter establishes the study of empowerment in rap and metal listening, situating it at the intersection of several key ideas: listening, the body, perception, cognition, the environment, identity, and community. It discusses the social contexts of rap and metal music and culture, describing how they are viewed by political institutions and academic disciplines. The chapter then addresses four major subjects: analysis, power, empowerment, and affordance. The section on analysis establishes how music theory and interpretation will be applied to a sample of metal and rap songs. Next, there is a critique of the predominant sociological approach to power. A discussion of empowerment explains how the book will instead examine listener experience using broadly psychological theories of power. Finally, the chapter introduces an ecological perspective that attends to subjectivity, meaning, the body, and environmental context in experiences of music listening. Chapter 1 ends with an overall outline of the book, which sets out the different topics under investigation in each chapter: listening, individual empowerment, resilience, communal empowerment, and social change.