Engaging hip-hop (Online discussions)

Thinking about the music in a global context and using specific examples, how would you respond to this list


  1. Personality matters more than “skills.”
  2. When white people enjoy “ignorant rap,” it feels racist.

3.     Explicitly political rap music will never change the world.

4.     Rap treats women horribly.

5.     Most criticism of contemporary rap is rooted in biased nostalgia.

6.     Rap’s popularity has declined significantly in mainstream America.

7.     The Internet A&R decimated the quality of popular rap.

8.     Rap makes violence seem very cool.

9.     Rap is the single biggest promoter of drug abuse in popular culture.

10. Most conscious rap is condescending, simplistic, and corny.

11. Rap is a really bad influence on children.


Online Discussion: Palestinian hip-hop

Based on today’s video, the video below, and this article, in what ways are Palestinian hip-hop artists challenging the dominant?  Who and what are they challenging, and what does this tell us about hip-hop artistry?

Palestinian hip-hop group tackles murder of women

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian hip-hop group DAM on Tuesday released a music video of their latest song to raise awareness about the murder of women.

The song, “If I could go back in time,” features guest singer Amal Murkus. It describes a young woman who is killed by her father and brother.

The video begins with the shooting of the woman and chronicles her life backwards, revealing in the last lines that her crime was to have been born a girl.

Suhell Nafar of DAM, who co-directed the video, rejected labeling the murder of women as “honor killing” at a news conference in Ramallah to launch the video.

“We should throw these words out of our dictionary,” said Nafar. “Honor and killing are not logical just like Israel and democracy.”

Rapper Tamer Nafar said the group wrote the song for the “missing voices” of women denied the opportunity to follow their dreams.

“We feel that when there is a crime against a woman, it is seen as the end of the story,” he said.

“No one asks the right questions, no one tries to shed the light on the human face; it is just another death. A death justified merely by the fact of being a girl.”

Soraida Hussein, general director of the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee, noted the potential of art to bring change and said the video was a “powerful tool in our efforts for social change.”

DAM is an acclaimed hip-hop outfit from Lod in Israel formed in 1999 by brothers Tamer and Suheil Nafar and Mahmoud Jreri. The group has a large following in the Middle East and has performed internationally.

Is Hip Hop is America? (online discussion)

Agree/Disagree (and why): “Hip Hop is America.  Its only real crime is being so much so.  It boils ‘mainstream standards and practices down to their essences, then turns up the flame.  Violence, materialism, misogyny, homophobia, racialized agony, adolescent views of sex and sexuality . . . . These are the common, bankable, all-American obsessions.  They’re the underbelly items that have always defined this country’s real, daily-life culture.  What that means is the top-of-the-line hip-hop and its true artists (be they ‘mainstream’ or ‘underground’) soar on the same terms that America’s real artists – and everyday folk – have always soared: by being un-America, by flying in the face of the fucked up values and ideals that are wired and corroded in this country’s genetic code even as no-lip lip-service is given to notions of equality, justice, and fairness” (Ernest Hardy)


Remember 200-250 words and specifics from class

White privilege (Online discussiuon)

How does Adam Mansbach discussion of white hip-hop and white privilege help us understand the smaller proportion of white hip-hop collegians (compared to hip-hop fans)?  Why on a campus like WSU are you more likely to see white kids listening/consuming commodified hip-hop than participating in organizations, spaces, and movements surrounding hip hop


Remember two hundred words
Discussion ends October 12, 2012

Race and Hip Hop (Online discussion)

Why has there been only one Eminem?  In other words, why have there not been more white MCs within mainstream rap?  How does this compare with the absence of Native American, Latino or Asian artists?  What about women?  Or GLBTQ hip-hop artists of color?  How does the visibility of black male rappers highlight the nature of racial privilege and inequality?


Remember two hundred words
Discussion ends October 12, 2012