Hip Hop: Beats, Rhymes, and Life

MUSIC/English/ASRC 2390

In this University Course, students will investigate hip-hop history from several points of entry: chronological, political, aesthetic, industrial and others. Team-taught by faculty from Africana Studies, English, and Music, Hip Hop: Beats, Rhymes, and Life will foster a dynamic exchange among different disciplinary viewpoints. The historical focus of the course locates hip-hop both as a personal/interactive expression and as an expression of culture: how hip-hop affects, and is affected by, notions of ethnicity, class, nationalism, art, gender, and genre. Throughout, we will focus our inquiry through listening to historical recordings, reading first-person and critical narratives, viewing a variety of media, and writing creatively and reflectively. We will develop research, writing, performing, and productions skills associated with hip-hop’s major elements: break-dancing, graffiti writing, MC-ing, DJ-ing, and knowledge. Informing this, we will make use of Cornell’s Kugelberg Hip-Hop Archive (the largest such archive in the United States) to query hip-hop as material culture.

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