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Afro-American Studies 154

Summer 2016

HIP-HOP AND CONTEMPORARY


AMERICAN SOCIETY
145 Birge | Mondays-Thursdays | 8:55-11:30

Alexander Shashko
shashko@wisc.edu

Office Hours
Tuesdays 11:30-1:30
4137 Helen C. White

Required Texts
Rap and Hip Hop Culture, by
Fernando Orejuela

Grading
Class Participation 20%
Final Exam 80%

Course Summary
The class is about the world that hip-hop made and the world
that made hip-hop. It tells the story of hip-hop's origins in
Jamaica and the Bronx, its evolution across North America, and
its emergence as a global phenomenon. Together, we will explore
the various themes, ideas and debates that emerged both within
the world of hip-hop music and culture and the broader historical
and contemporary events that contributed to hip-hop's evolution
from the 1970s until the present.

Hip-hop and Contemporary American Society

Afro-American Studies 154

Summer 2016

Class Policies
1. Attendance is required in lecture. Missing more
than three lectures will result in a full-letter grade
reduction in your grade for the course. Missing more
than four lectures will result in a failing grade.

Learning Outcomes
Students will demonstrate literacy
in the history of hip-hop music
and culture, and hip-hop's
significance within the broader
social and political landscape of
the United States from 1970 to the
present, through attendance in
class and the completion of the
course's written assignments.
Students will be able to think and
write critically in an
interdisciplinary manner about the
relationship of music to cultural
history, African-American history
and the history of race and
ethnicity by producing thoughtful
and creative writing on their
course assignments.
Students will display intercultural
knowledge and competence
through the written assignments
but particularly by participating in
class discussion. They will build
the foundation for civic
engagement and lifelong
understanding of cultural
differences by engaging hip-hop's
multi-ethnic and multi-racial past
and present.

Excused absences are intended to cover emergency


situations. They are not free days o. Save them until
you need them. This class is structured by the lectures,
so it is absolutely necessary that you attend regularly.
Attendance will be taken. Note: I do not compute
absences until the end of the semester. It is your
responsibility to monitor your attendance.
2. Anyone caught plagiarizing on a test will fail
the class. I will pursue all disciplinary options to their
fullest extent. If you have any questions at all about
what constitutes plagiarism, ask the professor or your
TA. Presenting more than three consecutive words of
any source without attribution is plagiarism. This
includes web sites.
3. No laptops or tablets are allowed in class
without the specific consent of the instructor.
4. Surfing the Internet, listening to portable
music devices or using cell phones is strictly
forbidden. If you are found distracting the professor,
teaching assistants or other students as a result of these
actions, you will be marked absent that day and it will
count against your attendance record and/or
participation grade.
5. All readings should be completed before the
lecture to which it is assigned.

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Summer 2016

Course Schedule
May 23

Who Will Survive in America? Race and American History

Songs:

"A Change Is Gonna Come," Sam Cooke; "Dancing in the Street," Martha and the
Vandellas; "Soul Man," Sam & Dave; "People Get Ready," The Impressions; "Papa's Got A
Brand New Bag," James Brown; "(Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below, We're All Gonna
Go," Curtis Mayfield; "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," Gil Scott-Heron;
"Mothership Connection," Parliament; "Fly Robin Fly," The Silver Convention; "Le
Freak," Chic; "We Are Family," Sister Sledge; "Disco Inferno," The Trammps; "Stayin'
Alive," The Bee Gees.

May 24

Looking for a Perfect Beat: The Birth of Hip Hop

Readings:

Orejuela, Ch. 1-4

Songs:

"Apache," The Incredible Bongo Band"; "Rapper's Delight," The Sugarhill Gang; "Planet
Rock," Afrika Bambaataa; "Looking for the Perfect Beat," Afrika Bambaataa; "The
Breaks", Kurtis Blow; The Message," Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five;

May 25

The CNN of Black America: Race, Music and Politics in the 1980s

Readings:

Orejuela, Ch. 5-6

Songs:

"Roxanne, Roxanne," U.T.F.O.; "Roxanne's Revenge," Roxanne's Shante; "The Bridge,"


MC Shan; "The Bridge is Over," Boogie Down Productions; "Walk This Way," Run-DMC;
"Fight for Your Right to Party," Beastie Boys; "Paid in Full," Eric B. & Rakim; "Follow the
Leader," Eric B & Rakim; "I Need Love," LL Cool J; "Don't Believe the Hype," Public
Enemy; "911 Is A Joke," Public Enemy; "Fight the Power," Public Enemy

May 26

Mutual Assured Destruction: Gangsta Rap and the East Coast-West Coast Beef

Readings:

Orejuela, Ch. 7

Songs:

"6 in the Mornin'," Ice-T; "Colors," Ice-T; "Boyz in the Hood," Eazy-E; "Straight Outta
Compton," NWA; "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang," Dr. Dre; "Murder Was The Case," Snoop
Doggy Dogg; "It Was a Good Day," Ice Cube; "C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything
Around Me)," Wu-Tang Clan, "Trapped," Tupac Shakur; "Juicy," Notorious B.I.G.; "I Used
to Love H.E.R.," Common

Hip-hop and Contemporary American Society

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Summer 2016

May 30

Memorial Day - No Class

May 31

Cash, Clothes and Capitalism: Hip Hop's Global Ascendancy

Songs:

"Cop Killer," Ice-T; "All About the Benjamins," Pu Daddy; "Parents Just Don't
Understand," DJ Jazzy Je and the Fresh Prince; "U Can't Touch This," MC Hammer,
"Ice Ice Baby," Vanilla Ice

June 1

No More Drama: Conscious Rap and the Return of R&B

Readings:

Orejuela, Ch. 8

Songs:

"Me, Myself and I," De La Soul; "Tennessee," Arrested Development; "U.N.I.T.Y.,"


Queen Latifah; "Scenario," A Tribe Called Quest; "The Mask," The Fugees; "Doo Wop
(That Thing)," Lauryn Hill; "Cruisin'," D'Angelo; "What Have You Done For Me Lately?,"
Janet Jackson; Paper Thin," MC Lyte; "Free Your Mind," En Vogue; "Let's Talk About
Sex," Salt N Pepa; "I'll Be There/You're All I Need to Get By," Method Man ft. Mary J.
Blige; "Unpretty," TLC

June 2

Pop Music in the Age of Hip Hop

Songs:

"Thriller," Michael Jackson; "Black of White," Michael Jackson; "Sign 'o the Times,"
Prince; "Gett O," Prince; "Like A Prayer," Madonna; "Cool It Now," New Edition; "I'll
Make Love To You," Boyz II Men; "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" Backstreet Boys; "It's
Gonna Be Me," Nsync.

June 3

The Dirty South: Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans and Houston

Readings:

Orejuela, Ch. 9

Songs:

"Banned in the U.S.A.," 2 Live Crew; "Cell Therapy," Goodie Mob; "Bombs Over
Baghdad," Outkast; "Hey Ya!," Outkast; "Drag Rap (Triggaman)," The Show Boys; "We
On Fire," Hot Boys; "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)," Missy Elliott; "Are You That
Somebody?," Aaliyah; "Mind Playing Tricks On Me," The Geto Boys

Hip-hop and Contemporary American Society

Afro-American Studies 154

Summer 2016

June 6

The Chosen Ones: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyonce and Eminem

Songs:

"99 Problems," Jay-Z; "Say My Name," Destiny's Child; "'03 Bonnie and Clyde," Jay-Z ft.
Beyonce; "Pretty Hurts," Beyonce; "Jesus Walks," Kanye West; "Guilty Conscience,"
Eminem; "Stan," Eminem; "Formation," Beyonce.

June 7

Hell No We Ain't Alright: Hip Hop in an Age of Terror

Readings:

Orejuela, Ch. 10

Songs:

"Where Is The Love," Black Eyed Peas; "Matter of Time," 4th 25; "George Bush Doesn't
Care About Black People," The Legendary KO; "Waiting for the World to Change," John
Mayer; "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)," Toby Keith; "Not
Ready to Make Nice," Dixie Chicks; "Magic," Bruce Springsteen; "The Sweetest Girl,"
Wyclef Jean, Lil Wayne and Akon; "Swimming Pools (Drank)," Kendrick Lamar' "Alright"
Kendrick Lamar; "Be Free," J Cole, "Anaconda," Nicki Minaj

June 8

Final Exam

Grading
Since the exams are all essays and papers based upon a subjective assessment, grades will be
assessed using basic letter grades and computed using a four-point scale.
Letter Grade
A
AB
B
BC
C
D
F

Four-point scale
4.0
3.5
3.0
2.5
2.0
1.0

Final Exam
The final exam will ask you to write a single essay about the material we have covered in class,
including the lectures, readings and discussion section. Three days before the exam, you will
receive two potential questions. Of these two questions, only one will be presented on the exam
itself. You will have the entire class period to complete your response.

Hip-hop and Contemporary American Society

Afro-American Studies 154

Summer 2016

Writing and Speaking About Race


The concepts of race and ethnicity are two ways that humans classify each other, often to define and
distinguish dierences. These classifications are highly complicated; sometimes they are used for positive
reasons and other times not. Be aware that the meaning of these concepts and the specific language used
change depending on contextual factors, including the speaker, the audience, and the speakers purposes.
As a writer and speaker:
Use terms that focus on people rather than on the method of categorization: people with disabilities
rather than disabled people; enslaved peoples rather than slaves.
Be as specific as possible. When writing about a group, refer to the specific group:
People of Korean descent rather than Asians; Dominicans rather than Hispanics.
Use African American or Black to refer to Americans of African lineage. They can both be used, as both
are considered appropriate.
When referring to African Americans in the plural, simply use "African Americans." Do NOT use "the
African Americans." Similar, do NOT use "the blacks" or "the whites." These are highly inappropriate
adaptations of the correct terms.
Avoid the term minority if possible. Minority is often used to describe groups of people who are not
part of the majority. This term is being phased out because it may imply inferiority and because minorities
often are not in the numerical minority. An alternative might be historically marginalized populations. If
avoiding the term is not possible, qualify the term with the appropriate specific descriptor: religious
minority NOT minority.
Note that the terms people of color and non-white are acceptable in some fields and some contexts and
not in others. Check with your professor if youre uncertain whether a term is acceptable.
Hispanic is typically used to refer to anyone from a Spanish-speaking background. The term white
sometimes includes people who identify as Hispanic. Note, however, that many Hispanics do not identify
as white.
The terms Latino/Latina/Latin are used mostly in the US to refer to US residents with ties to Latin
America.
Capitalize racial/ethnic groups: Black, Asian, Native American. Depending on context, white may or may
not be capitalized.
Do not hyphenate a phrase when used as a noun, but use a hyphen when two or more words are used
together to form an adjective:
African Americans migrated to northern cities. (noun) African-American literature. (adjective)

Hip-hop and Contemporary American Society