What is Hip-Hop? Is there a difference between Hip-Hop and rap? The "Teacha" KRS One stated that "Rap is something you do and Hip-Hop is something you live." Once thought of as a passing fad, Hip-Hop culture has remained at the forefront of Black, urban, and U.S. culture. Rap is the most famous element of Hip-Hop culture and is often misunderstood and discredited by those outside of the culture due to their lack of understanding of the inherent creativity and power within rap lyrics. Rap artists are able to re-invent and master the English language in ways that rival and transcend the greatest "poets" and "academics" known across the world. This art form developed and perfected by disenfranchised African American and Latino youth, grew out of the South Bronx in New York City but has roots that go beyond this land.
This course will identify and critically examine the theoretical foundations of Hip-Hop culture. Through a rigorous analysis of the evolution of Hip-Hop, students will develop a clearer understanding of the fundamentals, the community from which it originated, and the social significance of the culture. Through discussions, readings, projects and other assignments, we will discuss a general history of Hip-Hop from its origins until now; be challenged to think critically about Hip-Hop and its place in society; critically evaluate rap lyrics; use demonstrations, participation in Hip-Hop events, and listening exercises to examine how artists create meaning through their music; and think and write analytically about the phenomenon we know as Hip-Hop Culture.