Unit II: Deeper The Origins…

Deeper The Origins, The Darker the Roots #HipHopEd

Deeper The Origins, The Darker the Roots #HipHopEd


This unit examines the origins of Hip-Hop and will go back to the narrative of a divested woman in North Africa, whose story of imprisonment and oppression becomes a poetic narrative captured by a beating of the chest.  From North Africa to West Africa the Bedouin chest-beat is replaced by drums, while the poetry continues to relate stories for posterity.  The Griot of Jali of West Africa, stylizes the art form and their oral traditions conveyed to measure musical rhythms are carried through the Middle Passage to the Americas.

  1. Part 1: Who is Zaynab? (1 Day)
    Students will be able to trace Hip-Hop’s origins to the story of a divested woman of Afro-Arab origins, and recognize that her narrative and story both parallels the story of Hip-Hop and provides impetus for its movement into West Africa.
  1. Part 2: A Karavan from Karbala (3 Days)

Students will track changes in the narrative form as caravans in the Sahara trade take the narratives of Zaynab, from the Fatimid Empire to the kingdoms that will form the Empire of Mali over the course of 500 years.

  • Watch the following clip about Zaynab’s mother Fatima from West Africa: 
  • Answer the following questions: Is this music? How is it similar to Hip-Hop? What do you think is happening here?
  • Post one meaningful comment on two other class members posts (simple affirmation or critique is insufficient)
  • Watch the following clip by 2pac called “Brenda’s Got a Baby”: 
  • Answer the following questions: How is this similar to “An Ode To Zaynab” by Professor A.L.I.?
  • Listen to “Karavan from Karbala” by Professor A.L.I., take notes and read the article about the journey of this narrative here: (LINK)
  • Karavan Discussion: Why is Karavan spelled with a K; What imagery or verses stand out to you and why? Who are Saracens? Who are Bedouins?
  • Answer following reading/listening QUIZ questions:
    1. What is a griot?
    2. Who are the marabouts?
    3. Who are the Fatimids?
    4. Where is Timbuktu and why is it significant?
    5. Why does the song contend that the ‘Song of Zaynab’ birthed the “Song of Sundiata”?
  • Using a blank area map, trace the journey of Zaynab and her story and how it might have come to impact Hip-Hop; then post map here OR
  • Write 8 lines of poetry connecting the last part of the “Karavan from Karbala” song to the next stage in the journey or back to the story of Zaynab.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s