*This is a 2 unit course. It does not fulfill a major requirement.
The class will treat rap lyrics selected from multiple time periods as texts that students will read in conjunction with historical scholarship, which will offer the broader context for the themes that emerge in these songs. Although the first week will begin by providing an overview of rap and hip-hop, this is not a history of hip-hop class. We will not be studying the history of the musical genre. Rather, the aim is to illuminate the many ways that history, and African-American history in particular, inform the themes and subject matter upon which the selected lyrics focus. Some possible weekly themes include: slavery; racism; the war on drugs, police brutality, and mass incarceration; the exoticization of mixed race and light skinned women, and the commodification of women more broadly; rap, whiteness and cultural appropriation, sexuality; religion; capitalism; and revolution.
Students do not need to purchase any books for this class. All required materials will be available via bCourses.