Hip-Hop Music and Culture

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Introduction to Hip-Hop Music and Culture: What is hip-hop and how is it distinguished from rap? What is hip-hop’s significance in American culture?

In-Class Video: “20/20 News Documentary on Rap Music”(1980)

The Evolution of Hip-Hop

(a) Historical and Social Context, The South Bronx: What were the social, economic and political circumstances that gave birth to hip-hop culture?
Web site: Unit 1
Readings: Light, 13-15/18-21; 16-17; 69-71/74-78; 53-59; 35-41
(b) Cultural Roots: Africa and the African Diaspora (oral traditions, performance styles and 
musical genres): How is hip-hop connected to a cultural and musical continuum of Africa and the African Diaspora?
Web site: Unit 2 and Unit 3 
Readings: Light, 3-10; 351-359
Assignment--Video: Segment from either Wild Style (1982), or Style Wars (1983) - Media Center 

Hip-Hop on Vinyl: Stylistic Diversity: In what ways does hip-hop reflect diversity in African American lifestyles, music and cultural traditions?

Web site: Unit 4

(a) The Commodification of hip-hop
Readings: Light, 23-32; 43-50
b) Concepts and changing definitions of the “Old School”
Readings: Light, 84-85; 111-119 // Perkins 49-61
(c) Old School in Transition (1982-1984)
Readings:  Light, 101-107; 63-67; 81-83,86-89; 91-93,96-99

WEEK 4: 
New School Hip-Hop, 1984-present: When and how did hip-hop music become a 
cross-cultural, mass-marketed commodity?

CRITIQUE of LYRICS DUE: Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Web site: Unit 5

(a) Economic Issues
Readings: Light, 153-163
(b) Overview of Styles (Lyrics and Musical Features)
Readings: Light, 121-125, 128-132; 217-225
In-Class Videos: Various artists

WEEKS 5& 6: 
Hard Core Hip-Hop I: Message/Conscious Rap & Concepts of Black Nationalism: How does hip-hop represent both a social and political commentary and a voice of resistance? How is message or conscious hip-hop related to the ideology of Black Power and the concept 
of Soul?

EXAM 1: Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Web site: Units 6-8
Readings: Light, 145-151; 165-169, 172-175, 187-191,194-198 //  Perkins, 159-185
In-Class Videos: McNeal-Leaher "Rap Music" (1990); and “Black Panthers” segment from Eyes on the Prize II: Power (1967-1968) ? Media Center & AAAMC

WEEKS 7 & 8: 
Hard Core Hip-Hop II: Gangsta and X-Rated—Real or Imagined: What are the social roots of Gangsta and X-rated Hip-Hop and how can we relate these forms to African American folk traditions?

ASSIGNMENT 1 DUE: Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Web site: Unit 9
Readings: Light, 251-253,257-262; 297-305; 319-325 //  Perkins, 117-148
In-Class Videos: Interviews with Gangsta and X-Rated Rappers - AAAMC

Keeping It Real? Issues of Authenticity: Violence, Misogyny, Homophobia & Censorship: What are some of the issues related to the representation and exploitation of rap music? Why did groups rally to censor hip-hop music?

Web site: Units 10 & 11
Readings: Light, 265-273 // Perkins 236-254
Assignment--Video: Segment on Miami’s Black Community from Eyes On the Prize II, Back to the 
                     Movement (1979-Mid-1980s) Media Center & AAAMC
In-Class Video: Rivera Live “Gangsta Rap” - Media Center & AAAMC

ASSIGNMENT 2 DUE: Thursday, March 7, 2002

WEEKS 10 & 11: 
Issues of Representation: Women as Subject and Object  in Hop-Hop: How are women represented in hip-hop and how do they represent themselves? What is the role of spiritually and/or religion in hip-hop culture?

Web site: Units12-13
Readings: Light, 177-184; 209-215; 373-377, 380-383
Videos: Segments from interviews with women rappers - AAAMC

WEEK 12:
Turntablism / Rap Fusion: R&B-Hip Hop, New Jazz Swing: In what ways are hip-hop deejays creative artists? / How has hip-hop culture and music influenced other African-American popular music traditions?

EXAM 2: Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Web site: Unit 20 / Unit 14 
Readings: Light, 170-171; 307-316

WEEK 13:
Hip-Hop in Global Spaces: Issues of Representation and Identity: How has hip-hop culture and music influenced new forms of youth expression throughout the world? How do we discuss notions of cross-cultural artistic (re)production?

Web site: Unit 15
Readings: Light, 361-365, 368-369

(a) Latino Culture: How has hip-hop influenced new expressions in Latin culture and music?
Web site: Unit 16
Readings: Light, 116-119; Perkins 63-105

WEEK 14: 
Hip-Hop in Global Spaces 

(a) African Culture-Nigeria: How has hip-hop influenced new expressions in Nigerian 
       culture and music?
Web site: Unit 17
(b) Dutch Culture: How has hip-hop influenced new expressions in Dutch culture and
Web site: Unit 18

Video: Hip-Hop in the Netherlands - AAAMC

WEEK 15: 
White Rappers: Issues of Representation and Identity: How has hip-hop influenced 
White rappers and mainstream America?

Web site: Unit 19
Readings: Light, 121-127 // Perkins 182-208
Videos: White Rappers ? AAAMC

WEEK 16: FINAL EXAM 5:00-7:00pm, Thursday, May 2, 2002

NOTE: In this class, you should not be concerned with POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. This course seeks to explore and analyze DIVERSE perspectives on rap music. Assignments are designed to encourage critical thinking and to develop analytical and writing skills. Feel free to take issue with concepts presented in the lectures, readings, videos and discussions. ALL POSITIONS ARE VALID AS LONG AS THEY CAN BE SUBSTANTIATED BY OBJECTIVE DATA (documented facts, proven theories, statistics, etc.). You may bring CD's and cassette tapes to class for discussion.

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Last updated 31 Jan 2000 © Trustees Indiana University