Unit IV: Contradictions & Controversies


Students will ask and answer the question of why Hip-Hop has an anti-police element?  Students will also explore what “Beef” is and its role in the East Coast/West Coast polarization in Hip-Hop and the resulting violent deaths of artists Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.  Students will reference and understand the role played by Cointelpro and the Black Panther Party on Hip-Hop.

I: Part 1:  Eulogies (2 Days)

Students will examine the roll that Hip-Hop plays in reporting news, often times simplifying issues into white/black polarized realities. Assuming the same homogeniety as those criticized by Hip-Hop.

  • Read: “The Hip-Hop Declaration of Peace” in “The Gospel Of Hip Hop”
  • Listen to “Eulogies” by Professor A.L.I. feat. Raekwon take notes
  • Watch R.I.P. by Frontline: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ch09kzCnWEo
  • Listen to “All That I Got Is You” by Ghostface Killah feat. Mary J Blige
  • Watch “TROY” by Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiOcVWQY2bc
  • Listen to “Renee” by Lost Boyz
  • Listen to “Me and Jesus the Pimp in a ’79 Grenada Last Night” By the Coup
  • Listen to “I Ain’t Mad At Ya” by 2pac
  • Listen to Tito B’s tribute to Speedy Loc called “Starz The Limit”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljz88xVKVPw
  • Listen to “Never Seen a Man Cry” by Scarface
  • Listen to “Children’s Story” by Slick Rick
  • Listen to “We’re all in the Same Gang” by the West Coast All-Stars
  • Watch this Stop the Violence Movement video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWxztZs_atM
  • Why is death and/or suffering/poverty so intertwined in these narratives? Have the stories of mighty kings and queens kept by the griot or the Zaynab elegies, been replaced with stories surrounding average human beings and their suffering and if so why? (2 paragraphs)
  • Read 1-3 on Authenticity in “Hip Hop’s Amnesia” What role does authenticity play in these powerful narratives of loss?
  • Listen to Beneath Mom’s Feet by Professor A.L.I.


II: Part 2: Elroys (2 Days)


III: Part 3: Expletives (5 Days)

Students will be tracing the misogyny and expressions of seeming self-hate in Hip-Hop and discovering a long lost feminist movement in Hip-Hop.  Why is Hip-Hop, even Conscious Hip-Hop steeped in homophobic reference and expressions of heterosexual masculinity/femininity?

3.1. Racism

Students will engage in deep dialogue around the usage, counter usage and the omission of the N-word in Hip-Hop and it’s broader implications.  (Students will not be using the word in the course as a matter of discourse, but reference it as the N-word, for reasons of safety and course politics of inclusion)

3.2 Feminism (2 Days)


3.3. Queer Rap (2 Days)

IV: Part 4: Economics (2 Days)

Students will examine the expressions of pimping in Hip-Hop music its origin and the metaphor of pimping in its relationship to the artist/label dynamic.  The changing dynamic of Hip-Hop as commercialism takes over will also be discussed.

IV: Part 5: Beef (2 Days)

IV: Part 6: #TheRevolutionWillNotBeHashtagged (4 Days)

Students will become connect the works of Gil Scott, the Last Poets and Grandmaster Flash, to Public Enemy, Paris, Immortal Technique, and Dead Prez.  Students will analyze lyrics and begin to understand and draw connections to the politization of different eras and the issues that Hip-Hop addressed therein.  Occupy Oakland by Professor A.L.I. and Zion-I and J-Live’s Satisfied will be explored here as well.



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