The Absence of Hip Hop in the Curriculum

Hip Hop culture has gone through many evolutions causing it to increase in popularity not only nationally but globally, yet even though many claim its lyrics to be a stylized form of poetry with beats, rhymes, and melodies it hasn’t gained much ground in the academic word. Hip hop gained a reputation with the gang-banging lifestyle as well as being associated with explicit content, so because of this academics in the educational system tend to refrain from integrating hip hop into their curriculum. Since its origin hip hop has been greatly influenced by “the streets” which is often associated with drugs, violence, and alcohol. One can find this most commonly in the early life of hip hop with the likes of N.W.A., Ice-T, Tupac Shakur, and The Wu-Tang Clan. These groups defined the gangster lifestyle with their music which in turn became one of the reasons why most schools do not see rap lyrics as a form of poetry or art. Furthermore, even if schools were to look past the old views of hip hop and its association with gang banging, they still will not teach hip hop because of the content within the music. Many artists use rap to express their views on society, racism, and stereotypes however many others use it to “flex” their lavish lifestyle, money, and sometimes women. Yet one common ground found in both styles is its explicit way of voicing itself; It can be loud, it can be aggressive, it can even be exaggerated with its imagery, this mixture of questionable morals can easily scare away from its valuable messages deep within. So, it is to no surprise that school boards ban this genre from their schools without giving a second thought to it. It is no surprise that students aren’t taught how a generation can connect to this genre of music just because of its history with gangs and its non-sugar coated themes.

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