Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Real Hiphop 101: The H2Ed Guidebook Series

Beyond trying to teach hip-hop as a subculture in America, different educational systems (from elementary schools to colleges) are exploring ways to use hip-hop's creativity and energy to help students learn about cultural, social and political issues in today's world. After digging deep in some textbook crates, I found one of the rare books that explains the best ways to use hip-hop as an educational tool - The Hip-Hop Education Guidebook by the Hip-Hop Association.

The Hip-Hop Association (also known as the H2A) is an organization composed of hip-hop artists, filmmakers and scholars such as Mazi Mutafa of Words, Beats and Life, Inc., renowned female battle emcee Roxanne Shante' from the legendary Juice Crew, Associate Director for the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs at New York University Marcella Runell Hall, and filmmaker and activist Martha Diaz. The H2A seeks international social change through the use of media, pop culture, education, social entrepreneurship, leadership development and diplomacy.

The Hip-Hop Education Guidebook Volume 1 (edited by Martha Diaz and Marcella Runell Hall under the H2A) is a resource book for parents, teachers and scholars that addresses how to analyze hip-hop's influence in mainstream American society and pop culture from a scholarly standpoint. It doesn't explore the hip-hop arts in as interesting a way as That's The Joint, but it does have creative ways to finally put hip-hop in the classroom. It offers extraordinary ways to develop a student's writing in both poetry (because, of course, rapping is poetry in motion) and storytelling.

Plus, the book shows ways to use breakdancing to explore human anatomy and the laws of physics. In short, this book explains how hip-hop educates its community, and it takes hip-hop outside of the streets by putting it into the schools. It also addresses how to approach things such as diversity, leadership development, cultural heritage and identity in ways the hip-hop culture has done in its past - with its arts.

This 246-page book is now available as print for $26.50 and as a download for $10.55.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Real Hiphop 101: That's The Joint! The Hiphop Studies Reader

Remember I said last week that the real hiphop 101 has a required textbook? Well, this is what we had to use for our class:

Released in 2004, That's The Joint! The Hip-Hop Studies Reader is a 628-page textbook with hundreds of articles dating back to the 70s, when hip-hop first began. It covers all of the artistic and cultural elements within hip-hop in sections classified by art, race, gender, politics and hip-hop's impact on the world.

The editors of this book, Murray Forman and Mark Anthony Neal, managed to find all types of articles, from newspapers, magazines, radio interviews and even scholarly journals. Some articles are written by different famous hip-hop scholars, including Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Nelson George, Joan Morgan and Bakari Kitwana.

I loved this book when I first bought it for the class. It included interviews with almost all of the hiphop pioneers I discussed previously in this blog, and it is a very easy read. The way this book was broken down into sections gives people a great leeway into discussing the given topics very easily. I use this book for almost every post in this blog, as well as for every forum I organize with Hip-Hop Congress. And although this book cost me about $50, it is one of the greatest investments I have ever made.