|In the last thirty years, hip hop has gone from ghettoized music to global phenomenon, reshaping the way millions of people experience the world around them. This course examines the history and evolution of hip hop/rap music, tracing its movements and meanings in different social contexts – from Bronx streets to Madison Avenue and beyond. We will emphasize both artistic and political dimensions of the music. In other words, we will analyze aesthetics-the selection of particular sounds, rhythms, and images-but we will also pay attention to how these choices relate to social issues. Through this course students will gain a better understanding of U.S. history, racial politics, technology, the global recording industry, and of course hip hop itself.
While no previous background in music is required, students will be expected to listen closely to music and lyrics and come to understand the relationship between stylistic changes and the social forces that animate them. With help from the instructor, students will develop a vocabulary for discussing music, politics, and culture, allowing us to consider hip hop as an art form, social text, cultural process, and above all, a potent sonic force animating much of late 20th and early 21st – century life.
MUS 360 stresses issues of cultural diversity (race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality) by tracing the growth of hip hop, a musical culture created by marginalizaed African American and Latino youth, from its humble beginnings to its current status in the early 21st-century as one of the dominant popular music forms across the globe. The course sets this narrative in the larger context of Afro-Diasporic history and cultural practice, drawing upon a body of general knowledge in ethnomusicology, cultural studies, musicology, ethnic studies, area studies, philosophy, and history to better understand the relationship between cultural practices and socio-political formations. The course begins with the emergence of hip hop culture in the post-industrial ghettos of New York's Bronx neighborhoods, explaining how various forms of music, dance, and graffiti arose as a response to urban planning policies that had left underserved communities to fend for themselves.