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A brief analysis on how hip-hop has evolved and impacted Collegiate Curricula and Learning

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The various facets of art ? music, visual art, literature ?forms the artillery used by many to shoot down oppressive societal forces, to scrutinize current situations whether societal, political, economical or personal in nature, or to simply express varying emotions or opinions, no matter how minute or impactful. Hip-hop can encompass a lot of things and while it is more popularly recognized as a genre of music, it is an art form on a larger perspective which includes rapping, break dancing, DJing and the visual art of graffiti, all of which were and continues to be weapons of choice for urban and mass expressionism for more than four decades. Its history of mixed racial influences and being born out of the Bronx makes this art form a culture in itself, a culture driven by the masses which makes it more accessible, relatable and transcending compared to any art form and culture.

The music of the urban poor, black music, call it by various names or phrases but the current definition of hip-hop has become more than just a description of its roots, but has also embraced its ever growing influence on society, culture, music, media and even linguistics. It has evolved to affect how the youth dress, talk and even treat each other. Depending on who you would ask, some would say that the culture has glorified the gangster (or ?gangsta? when pronounced and spelled the hip-hop way, which by the way, is a valid lexicon entry) lifestyle - street fighting, riots, drugs, misogyny and violence leading to murder. Others would argue that hip-hop has helped these inner city gangs find an alternative to physical violence, that while contempt cannot be eradicated, they can express this and other ill feelings toward each other via spit balling rhymes, dropping off beats and spray painting a wall or two; what the ?haters? call vandalism, they call it art ? graffiti.

[...] Introduced in 2009, the diploma program consists of the following courses: Language of Rap and Spoken Word, Diaspora of African Music, Hip-Hop Music Production, Deejay or Emcee Techniques, and Hip-Hop Culture's Impact on Society, among others. Many other schools will surely follow suit. In fact, a few of them already have. At Georgetown University, Sociology Professor Michael Eric Dyson teaches a class entitled ?Sociology of Hip-Hop?Urban Theodicy of which aims to breakdown Jay-Z's rap lyrics, song motivations, material and his impact on society by studying his work. [...]


[...] The biggest challenge so far in incorporating hip-hop in higher education is getting recognition from colleges and universities. As popular and impactful to society hip-hop is, many institutions devalue the need to have classes and even courses related to it and do not recognize the substance of hip-hop themed publications; it doesn't academically fit, so to speak. ?There is so much wisdom in the cipher,? Toni Blackman told The Eagle, the official paper of the American University in 2007. Blackman spearheads the Freestyle Union Cipher Workshop, a group which she co-founded with other emcees two decades ago. [...]


[...] It has evolved to affect how the youth dress, talk and even treat each other. Depending on who you would ask, some would say that the culture has glorified the gangster (or ?gangsta? when pronounced and spelled the hip-hop way, which by the way, is a valid lexicon entry) lifestyle - street fighting, riots, drugs, misogyny and violence leading to murder. Others would argue that hip-hop has helped these inner city gangs find an alternative to physical violence, that while contempt cannot be eradicated, they can express this and other ill feelings toward each other via spit balling rhymes, dropping off beats and spray painting a wall or two; what the call vandalism, they call it art graffiti. [...]


[...] Meanwhile, more than two years ago, the College of Charleston in South Carolina offered a short, month-long course taught by Professor Roneka Matheny entitled ?Hip-Hop: Evolution and Impact.? Of course, these are baby steps, but it is undeniable that hip-hop has become an essential part of society in various ways that to ignore its place in academia would be doing the society a great disservice. Hip-hop is not a fad, it is a way of life, and it is a culture that deserves its place in higher learning. More than forty years since its conception in New York, hip-hop has indeed transcended and exceeded itself, for nowadays, you can graduate with a minor in hip-hop and no one should give you flak about it. References: 1. http://www.theeagleonline.com/scene/story/hip-hop-music-needs-place-in- higher-education/ 2. [...]

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