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New History of Hip Hop course to be offered in spring 2018

Photo credit/ Margaret Scott

Photo credit/ Margaret Scott

Margaret Scott, Asst. A&E Editor

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The Marywood Music, Theatre and Dance department will offer a History of Hip Hop course in the upcoming spring semester. The class, taught by adjunct Music Professor Michael Parker, will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and cover a variety of elements throughout the history of hip hop culture.

Starting from where the genre began, Parker is looking to focus on the social, cultural and political ties that are intertwined in the music genre. Parker said the course will not shy away from hip hop’s more controversial themes.

“I think one thing about hip hop is it’s got kind of a bad rap, no pun intended, especially with obscenities and violence. There’s all kinds of sore subjects with it,” said Parker.

He explained that one of the topics he will discuss in the class is feminism in the genre.

“There’s a lot of violence against women in hip hop music, lyrics and even the materialization of women as a sex object. That’s something I want to break down and just see what message they’re trying to get across,” Parker said.

Parker said he seeks to open students’ minds to the message in the music that goes deeper than just the lyrics. He wants students to explore the historical context in which hip hop culture was created.

“It was right of the tail end of the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panther Movement was kind of ending their heyday at that moment. There were a lot of people who were informed, had a new sense of righteousness, empowerment and trying to make things right,” said Parker.

Parker said he is hoping students who enroll in the course will take information about important issues and themes highlighted in the music and realize these issues still affect music and society today.

“There will be kids who are like ‘Great! Hip hop,’ and want to have fun, and I want them to have fun; I want them to see the bigger picture,” he said. “Yes, it’s a hip hop course, but I see it more as an American study, or more directly as an African American study.”

Another topic the course will cover is the ever-changing landscape of the relatively new genre and the community that surrounds it, according to Parker.

“I think there has always been somebody in the hip hop community, whether formally or informally, that serves as a messenger for the community as a whole. I want to bring a lot of attention to that in the course,” said Parker.

According to Parker, many of his current students are already interested in the course.

“Students seem to perk up whenever I mention it in class and I seem to be generating a lot of interest here in the Performing Arts Center,” he said.

Elizabeth Maros, a freshman education and special education major, said she would be interested in taking the course to satisfy the fine arts credit.

“Some people might want to know more about the message behind the music, and find out a little bit more about it if they already like this genre,” said Maros.

The course number is listed as MUSIC 399A section 1 for students who are interested in registering. For more information on the course, contact Professor Michael Parker at [email protected].

Contact the writer: [email protected]

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