Week 9: Hip Hop ETC

For this week’s assignment, you have two options. The first is to analyze how a hip hop song tackles a particular societal issue, such as race, sexism, poverty, politics, “keeping it real” (authenticity), materialism, or anything else you think works. Remember, hip hop doesn’t always (or maybe even doesn’t often) say what we want it to say about certain issues — at best, it draws attention to parts of our society we don’t always want to be confronted with, often through creative play and exaggeration. Try to meet the music on its own terms: what is it saying about a particular issue and how is it saying it? Why is the artist saying it in such a way — why did he or she make particular creative choices about the song?

Your other option is to focus on the creative work of sampling, which we will also talk about in our class on dance music. Post a song and the song that it samples from, and describe how the sample is used. Why do you think the producer of the track chose to sample a particular song? What kinds of connections are made between songs? You can choose music from any genre, not just hip hop.

Some resources on sampling:

  • The Breaks – Site that categorizes sampled works.
  • Illegal Art – Record label that releases works with uncleared samples.

Timbaland accused of theft for sampling Scandinavian computer music without permission.

Finally, a link: check out Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music before Wednesday’s class. It’s an entertaining and occasionally informative look at the many sub-genres of electronic music, some of which we will touch upon on Wednesday.


~ by Gavin on June 2, 2008.

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