Intro to American Hiphop By Region: East Coast

The West African and African American oral traditions of the “Black Atlantic,” as post-colonial studies scholar Paul Gilroy has termed it, are part of a diverse set of folk cultural systems organized around a loosely based framework of shared aesthetics. Hiphop is one of countless musical traditions born out of this historical and cultural milieu. An ever-changing system of sounds, sites, and aesthetics shaped by specific places, times, events and regions, what we have come to term “hiphop” is a complex system of musical genres that have played a defining role in musical, political, and popular culture from the 1970s to today. In this unit, students will be given a basic introduction to hiphop via the traditions of the East Coast, including hiphop’s birth and development in the Bronx and the musical innovations of, among others, Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa.