History and Skills of Hip-Hop (9-12)

Hip-hop is a global phenomenon, one that influences the way people think, create, speak and dress. This effect is far removed from hip-hop’s origins in the New York City borough of the Bronx, where DJ’s created the breakbeat sound at house and street parties, MC’s rocked crowds with their poetry, b-boys and b-girls presented a wild new dance style, and graffiti artists risked their lives to turn subway trains into moving galleries. Through audio tracks, documentaries, lectures and readings, we will study the origins of hip-hop culture, with particular emphasis on early artists like Kool DJ Herc, The Cold Crush Brothers, the Rock Steady Crew, and Phase 2. Topics we’ll address include the music and traditions that influenced hip-hop, development of the turntable as a musical instrument, the role of men and women in early hip-hop, and the entrance of hip-hop into the mainstream. Study of these origins will be combined with hands-on training in how to DJ, MC, b-boy/girl, and create various kinds of graffiti art with guest artists/teachers who will join our class for extended workshops.

This course is for students who love hip-hop, want to love hip-hop, are creative, want to be creative, wish to express themselves through all of hip-hop’s arts, and are ready to have a lot of fun.

Matt Gainsley