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Unit information: Hip-hop Music and Culture in 2013/14

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Unit name Hip-hop Music and Culture
Unit code MUSI30107
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
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 give students an opportunity to expand the breadth of their historical knowledge through the study of optional subjects 2. to expand their knowledge of the associated musical repertoire and to be able to comment accurately and perceptively on matters of style, structure and context 3. to develop their ability to assemble and assimilate information from a wide variety of sources 4. to engage in critical evaluation of texts about music 5. to develop effective and detailed arguments, both orally and in writing 6. to display competence in the practices, processes, techniques and methodologies that underpin musicological practice

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students are expected to (1) be familiar 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) have a 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

And additionally (specific to Level H) to: a) incorporate a consistently strong grasp of detail with respect to content b) argue effectively and at length (including an ability to cope with complexities and to describe and deploy these effectively) c) display to a high level skills in selecting, applying, interpreting and organising information, including evidence of a high level of bibliographical control d) describe, evaluate and/or challenge current scholarly thinking e) discriminate between different kinds of information, processes, interpretations f) take a critical stance towards scholarly processes involved in arriving at historical knowledge and/or relevant secondary literature g) engage with relevant theoretical, philosophical or social constructs for understanding relevant works or traditions h) demonstrate an understanding of concepts and an ability to conceptualise i) situate material within relevant contexts (invoking interdisciplinary contexts where appropriate) j) apply strategies laterally (perhaps leading to innovative results)

Teaching Information

Weekly 2 hour seminars for the whole cohort

Assessment Information

All the assessment is summative: 1x3,000-word essay (50%); 1x 2-hour exam (50%). Both the essay and the exam will demonstrate (1) and (2), and (a)-(j), with the essay in particular providing an opportunity for the students to demonstrate (3), (4) and well as (5), and (b)-(f).

Reading and References

• Forman, Murray and Mark Anthony Neal, eds.: That’s the Joint: The Hip-hop Studies Reader, 2nd edition (London: Routledge, 2012) • Krims, Adam: Rap Music and the Poetics of Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) • Mitchell, Tony, ed.: Global Noise: Rap and Hip-hop Outside the U.S.A. (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2002) • Rose, Tricia, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1994) • Schloss, Joseph G.: Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-hop (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2004) • Williams, Justin: Musical Borrowing in Hip-hop (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013)