Global Hip-Hop

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Music

Module overview

Hip Hop inspires strong opinions, whether in culture war debates or among urban youth born in the digital era.

It is the music of grass-roots activists, but it is also big business. It is often described as a primarily lyrics-driven genre, but its best songs are condensed histories of migration and labour trauma that play out at the level of melody. This module considers how it came to be that this genre, born of post-industrial urban decay but gestated through decades of Afrodiasporic conceptions of versioning, has come to dominate not only the Music industry, but academic discussions of youth culture. Through consideration of Hip Hop’s history, pre-history, and global reach, we draw broader conclusions about migration and diaspora, ethnicity and gender, nation and place, all of which hide in plain sight embedded in musical style. 

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module students will be able to

  • Interpret a variety of musical styles through the lens of technologically-driven composition.
  • Critique key debates in Hip Hip Studies, including its inclusion in university spaces.
  • Appraise new musical movements that are driven by technology and new media.

Method of assessment

  • 800-word essay: Sample excavation (worth 30% of marks)
  • 2,000-word essay or 12-minute podcast: Analysis of influences (worth 70%)


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