This lesson explains the origins of hip hop and why it is such an important genre of music. It began as a way for poor, inner-city black youth to describe and express their reality to a world that does not see them. Originally an East Coast phenomenon, hip hop then grew on the West Coast, and songs now originate from all over the United States. Indeed, hip hop has caught on in marginalized communities around the world that are writing their own stories of oppression and marginalization.
Some advanced preparation is required for this study, including downloading or preparing to stream a song from the Internet (instructions are provided) during the session. In addition, users should be warned that some may find the language of many hip hop songs very rough and offensive. Participants are urged to put their moral assertions aside and seek to first understand the message of hip hop before judging it.