Skip to main content

Unit information: Hip-hop Music and Culture in 2021/22

Unit name Hip-hop Music and Culture
Unit code MUSI20071
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Williams
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

In its over thirty years on record, hip-hop culture has risen to influence numerous global and local communities, from dominating album sales and downloads, to influencing fashion, advertising, cinema, urban space and everyday speech. This unit will embrace multi-disciplinary approaches to look at the four elements of hip-hop (breakdancing, graffiti, turntabilism/DJing and rap) and issues such as history, gender, race and geography. In addition, the unit will focus the musical analysis of rap, intertextuality, music video and rap music in non-Anglophone cultures (e.g. Germany, Japan, and Cuba).

This unit aims (1) to expand students' musicological knowledge into an important area of 20th- and 21st-century popular culture; and (2) to develop and apply understanding of the relevant contexts and methodologies for this study. The unit also develops skills in (3) extended written argument and in (4) oral presentation.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, a successful student will be able to

(1) demonstrate familiarity with the various subgenres of hip-hop music in the United States and the UK

(2) describe with confidence the primary features attributed to rap music and hip-hop culture, and their linkage with earlier forms of African-based and African-American based music making

(3) demonstrate good knowledge of global hip-hop trends and movements outside the Anglophone world

(4) write critically and perceptively about questions of race, gender and intertextuality

(5) write critically and perceptively about theories and debates surrounding hip-hop music.

(6) be able to deliver a structured and critical argument in verbal presentation.

Teaching Information

Weekly 2 hour seminars for the whole cohort

Assessment Information

All the assessment is summative:

2500 word essay (60%), ILO 1 - 5.

10 minute group presentation (40%) with accompanying handout (no word count specified), ILO 1 - 3, 6.

The accompanying handout must include a bibliography for the presentation.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. MUSI20071).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.