Hip-Hop 101


HIP-HOP 101 / Hip-Hop History: Beats, Rhymes and Life*

Some characterize Hip-Hop as solely a musical genre that has its roots in the various boroughs of New York City in the 1970’s.  Others consider Hip-Hop as historic storytelling that comes to the United States via the griot from West Africa, through oral histories kept alive in verse, in the cultural practice known as “the dozens” and finally as a form of music.  KRS-One an artist and founder of the Temple of Hip-Hop once defined it as “intelligent movement”.  He argued that to be “hip” was to be ‘in the know’ or in other words, to possess some sort of hidden knowledge.  He said that to “hop” was to move, that it’s a verb and therefore it is movement.  He argued that Hip-Hop was therefore at its core, intelligent movement and mindful counterculture. This course is an examination of this movement of counterculture, its place in history and global impact.

Materials: Please purchase the books, album and songs specified below. These will be the materials you will use during this course.


  1. The Gospel of Hip-Hop by KRS-One
  2. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (PDF to be provided)
  3. Hip-Hop Family Tree Volume 1 by Ed Piskor
  4. Hip-Hop’s Amnesia From Blues and the Black Women’s Club Movement to Rap and the Hip Hop Movement by Reiland Rabaka
    1. Remix 2: Women
    2. Remix 4: Sexuality
  5. Hip-Hop’s Inheritance by Reiland Rabaka
  6. Its Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise Of The Post Hip-Hop Generation by Asante
  7. The Autobiography of Assata Shakur
  8. Black Jacobins by CLR James


  1. XFactor album by Professor A.L.I.


  1. Verbs of Power by X-Clan
  2. U.N.I.T.Y. by Queen Latifah
  3. Ya Playin’ Yaself by Jeru The Damajah
  4. You Must Learn by Boogie Down Productions
  5. Brenda’s Got a Baby by 2pac
  6. All That I Got Is You by Ghostface Killah feat. Mary J Blige
  7. B.I.B.L.E. by Killah Priest
  8. Never Seen a Man Cry by Scarface
  9. Black Steel in the Hour Of Chaos by Public Enemy
  10. Break The Grip Of Shame by Paris
  11. Children’s Story by Slick Rick
  12. Love’s Gonna Get’cha by KRS-One
  13. Definition by Black Star
  14. Doo Wop by Lauryn Hill
  15. Fight The Power by Public Enemy
  16. F— The Police by NWA
  17. The Formula by DOC
  18. Git Up, Git Out by Outkast
  19. Me and Jesus the Pimp in a ’79 Grenada Last Night By the Coup
  20. I Gave You Power by Nas
  21. Me and My Girlfriend by 2pac
  22. Juicy by Notorius BIG
  23. I Used to Love H.E.R. by Common
  24. I Ain’t Mad At Ya by 2pac
  25. Ladies First by Queen Latifah
  26. We’re All In the Same Gang by West Coast All-Stars
  27. MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know by KRS-One
  28. Hip-Hop Is Dead by Nas
  29. The Message by Grandmaster Flash
  30. The 18th Letter by Rakim
  31. N. Y. State of Mind by Nas
  32. 6 N the Mornin by Ice-T
  33. Words of Wisdom by 2pac
  34. Who Do You Believe In by 2pac
  35. South Bronx by KRS ONE
  36. Renee by Lost Boyz
  37. Martyr by Immortal Technique
  38. Beef by Talib Kweli
  39. Satisfied by J-Live

Video (rent):

Wild Style or Krushgroove


  1. Spivak, Subaltern (these will be provided to you)
  2. Foucault on Power (these will be provided to you)
  3. Invisible Man (these will be provided to you)


*A Tribe Called Quest reference


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