My 13 year old son is a huge fan of hip hop! He’s taken to writing his own music and performing for our family every Friday night. Luckily for him, we’re also fans of hip hop. I grew up listening to hip hop, buying cassettes and cds every time an artist dropped an album. I probably attended 20+ hip hop concerts in my teens and twenties. I saw Tupac, Dr. Dre, Snoop, Wu-Tang, Jay Z, Nas, Biggie, Ludacris, Redman, Fat Joe, The Fugees, and many others in concert. Hip hop was always culture to me! Kendrick Lamar and J Cole are definitely Luka’s favorite (the clean version).
Since we homeschool our kids we get to choose what extracurricular projects we want to assign to them. This past Christmas we got him the book “How to Rap” by Paul Edwards.
We also set up a little studio for him in his room, equipped with a Mic, Zoom Podtrak, Headphones, Soundproof, a Pen and Paper.
I recently came across this class taught by Lupe Fiasco at MIT. So, I decided to make this an assignment that could be fun and educational. His assignment was as follows:
Rap is a genre that is so much more than it’s music alone. From DJing, to breakdancing, to rhyming, to even just sitting down and listening to your favorite artists latest single, you are exploring the culture of rap. When you randomly rap your favorite bars from a song you like, that’s exploring the culture, too. Sure, it may sound a bit different from what you are used to hearing about rap, but it can even be a teaching tool. This meaning that you can convey the meaning of whatever you want, through rap. It is a powerful tool, but unfortunately, many rappers don’t know how to use it that way. They may be aware of the fact that it can be used that way, but they do not know how. However, the rappers that are aware of the things that Lupe Fiasco is talking about, the teaching power, the effect of making people dance, micro- and macro-decisions, surprise! They are more successful, have more fun, and create deeper relations. Rap can also bring fans to enjoy themselves, and empower them with confidence. So know that, whether you are a fan of rap or not, rap is more than music. It is a culture!