Click on image below for a PDF of the reading.
"Rap Music as an Extension of the Black Rhetorical Tradition" by Baruti Kopano from 2002 is the first article we will read together this semester. We will use this essay as a model for what African American rhetoric scholars do.
Come to class with a piece of writing that addresses your ideas (right now) about what African American rhetoric is (in your words) and what you see as its impact. Just write/mediate on it. Let this writing take you wherever it takes you. Do not write a final, schoolish essay that addresses a prompt. Use writing to work through your ideas in interesting and creative ways. Let it flow.
We do not own the rights to this essay. It is being used here for educational purposes only in the hopes that it helps other undergraduate students. This webpage will be password-protected as needed.
This day of class is designed to really experience what African American rhetoric scholars do when they rhetorically analyze an artifact. You may have noticed that each of the major performances that Kopano discussed in the last class’s reading assignment was starred on the PDF. We are going to go back now and look at the performances that Kopana discussed. Look below and to the left and peruse the different performances (they are listed in the order that Kopano discusses them. In writing, do the following: 1) Which performance intrigued you most and why? 2) Go back and look at what Kopana said about this performance and history. What would you add? Again, as a reminder: Do not write a final, schoolish essay that addresses a prompt. Use your writing to work through your ideas in interesting and creative ways. Try to have some fun with it.
Videos at the left:
1) Dr. Molefi Kete Asante on Afrocentricity
2) Agikuyu Orature (performed by students at Wahundura)
3) Archie Shepp - Mama Rose (Live at Jazz Jamboree Warsaw 1978)
4) Charlie Parker and Coleman Hawkins in 1950
5) Dizzy Gillespie's Bebop Reunion in 1975
6) Kool Herc's Technique
7) "How to Do a Break Mix" by Grand Master Flash in 1983
8) Dr. Hep Cat
9) WADO 1280 New York: Jocko Henderson in 1965
10) James Brown on Soul Train, "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud"
11) Last Poets (Full Album)
12) "Excursions" by Tribe Called Quest
13) "Cell Therapy" by Goodie Mob
14) "Renee" by The Lost Boyz
Godmother of Hip Hop who assembled the Sugarhill Gang to record “Rapper’s Delight.”
"Supersonic" by J.J. Fad
(Dania Birks (Baby D), Michelle Franklin-Ferrens (Sassy C), Anna Cash (Lady Anna), Fatima Shaheed (O.G. Rocker) and Juanita Lee (Crazy J).
Proceeds from the sale of “Supersonic” funded the promotion of N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton. The group featured a rotating cast in Juana Burns (MC J.B.). “Supersonic” was mostly "remembered" when copied (with credit following a lawsuit) by will.i.am funded yet another man in the industry.
"Funk You Up" by The Sequence
The Sequence released the first rap single from a women's rap group in 1979 with "Funk You Up." One of its members, Angie Stone, is now a neo-soul icon.
The 1988 release of Lyte's album, Lyte as a Rock, marked the birth of Black women as solo emcees.
Queen Latifah's first album dropped in 1989 when she part of the Native Tongues. Her company, Flavor Unit (now The Unit) has produced and influenced dozens of rappers.