Week 2: the hip hop wars

 Our readings and film for this week introduce some of the key debates (in the public sphere and in academic hip hop studies) related to the popularization of hip hop culture, especially the commercialization of rap.  


Reading guide

Please keep these questions in mind as you work through the texts.

  • What historical facts do the authors (or participants in the Google debate) rely upon to construct hip hop’s history?
  • What are the political stakes of hip hop? Why does a critical discussion of hip hop matter?
  • What do the two assigned readings share in common?


Readings & Film

Complete readings and answer discussion questions by Wed @ noon. 


(Write down how you feel in this debate) Here is the link for Film.

Here is the questions:


To begin our discussion this week, I’d like you to think critically about how the authors (Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Tricia Rose) approach writing the history of hip hop and answer the following questions.

  • What historical facts do they rely upon to write this history?
  • What are the political stakes of hip hop, according to each author?
  • What do the two pieces share in common?

Both of our authors are professors, so after you’ve named them initially, you can either call them Dr. Gates, Jr. or Dr. Rose (or Professor instead of Dr.) Also, I am not asking you to pit these two writers against one another or to declare one easier to read than the other, etc. It’s not necessarily a compare and contrast (though a little bit of that is fine). I’m asking you to be observant of their writing styles and each writer’s overall approach to chronicling the history of hip hop.

For this hw, you have two things to do. One is read what I upload and answer those questions. 

Second watch the debate, and write down you thought.