We have our two final assignments due this week. Your second hip hop definition is due by Saturday at 8pm (if you have questions on format, length, etc. please see the reading schedule in the syllabus). We also have one final discussion question for Decoded. This is our last discussion for the class, so please keep that in mind. As always, you need to post between 3-5 times for the week, so please budget your time to get both assignments completed.
1) On pages 235-236 (the beginning of Part IV), Jay Z writes that he had three primary goals for writing his book. Please make an argument as to whether or not you think he was successful in his endeavor. Your post should provide at least 5 pieces of evidence (total) from the rest of the text to support your argument. It’s fine to complicate your argument and say that he succeeded in one or two of the goals but not in all. In other words, you don’t have to consider the goals together in terms of their success. It’s also ok with me if you want to split your initial post into three posts and address the goals separately. Just make sure you have at least one part of it up by Wednesday (email me if you have questions about this).
The final hip hop definition is due in the “Assignments” section of Canvas by Saturday, Aug 18 @ 8pm. It’s fine to upload your paper before the due date, but I will not accept papers after that date (and the upload feature will close).
**Additional Tips on Hip Hop definitions**
You should imagine this final write up to be your revised, evidence-based definition of hip hop after having done the readings (and watched the films) for this class. Has it changed? How so? What specific readings (and passages) influenced your revised definition? You may use parts of your first definition, but this is not a revision of that particular paper. This is a revision of your ideas about the definition of hip hop (both past and present). Please email me and let me know if you’re confused about this. I’m not looking for a conversion narrative here (“I once hated hip hop, but now I see the light!”) Please try to avoid this. In fact, try to to limit your use of “I” as much as possible and instead position yourself in company with the experts we’ve read this quarter, supporting your definition with evidence. Sounds easy, but believe me, I realize it’s complicated.
I noticed that a lot of people started their first paper with some version of the sentence: “Hip hop is difficult to define. It means different things to different people.” Try to avoid this. I’m looking for a perspective, a way into a longer conversation about hip hop that’s been informed by our particular set of readings. We’ve read A LOT of material this quarter about the relationship between history, structural policies, racism and sexism. We’ve also watched several documentaries about how people have challenged institutionalized oppression and fought for a more democratic and equal society. You may want to explore how these previous challenges are informing (or might inform) present circumstances. In other words, it’s fine to “stretch” your papers beyond just reciting and defining the four elements of hip hop and instead find a way into the conversation from a particular topic or viewpoint (like hip hop feminism). Or you might want to organize your essay around a particular artist or song (like Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” and the Black Lives Matter movement). These are just two examples, but the possibilities are endless. It’s totally up to you how you want to organize your paper (I’m open to creativity), but it’s equally important that you have a claim and that you prove it with evidence from our class reading
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