During an interview Mark Anthony Neale, one of the editors of That’s the Joint, describes the authenticity debate in hip hop: “Part of the defining myth of hip-hop culture, is that it represents the essence of a marginalized blackness—the idea being that those who grew up poor and in the ghetto or the 'hood were the most authentic representatives of blackness. . . . even those who didn't "live the life" have felt compelled to "represent the life" depending on how "the life" has been defined at various historical moments (the gangsta of the early 90s became the pimp of 2003).” In other words, authenticity in hip hop is performed and not necessarily lived. It is the performance aspect of hip hop that we will concern ourselves with in this course. Through the analysis of lyrics, music videos, films, websites, and a wide range of other cultural artifacts we will look at the ways in which hip hop performers construct their authenticity, gender, sexuality, class status, etc. The work load in this class is intense. We will be reading a wide range of theoretical texts and students are required to actively participate in class discussions. Since this class is primarily a writing course students are required to complete a total of 20-25 pages of writing as well as take weekly quizzes and complete short in-class writing assignments. A love of hip hop is necessary for this course but you must also be eager to study history, theory and culture that surrounds the musical form.