Rap/Hip-Hop Music Videos on Rhapsody Online

Friday, February 26, 2010

Poetry class

I have gotten SOO much out of poetry class. I have made new friends, learned more about classic poems and poets than I ever thought that I would know, and I made fantastic memories. I love my little seventh bell poetry family.

Throughout my time in the class, I have evolved as a poet. I discovered my own personal style and learned how I can play with it and alter it. Typically my poetry is rhymy and cutsie, like something out of a childrens book. After taking this class though I want to experiment a little and see if I can make something new work. Towards the end of class i was starting to take inspiration from other poets. I have also learned that I dont have to play it so safe when it comes to poetry. It is ok to do something different and controversial (look at ee cummings).

My perspective of poetry has changed because I no longer think poetry is so hard. When I used to think about poetry i thought it had to be something deep and emotional that followed rules. I know now that poetry can be whatever you want it to be. "There are no rules in poetry". Poetry is a wonderful tool to express yourself. Ive never considered myself a poet, but maybe ill start to write poems just for fun.

The Leak

The song "The Leak" by Lil twist and Lil wayne reminds me of several different styles and techniques that we have read and written about. The first technique that Lil' twist does, is reference many, many social and historical people and things. In the first verse he compares himself to chubby checker and in the second he references Miley Cyrus and the Jonas brothers. In the 4th verse he begins to reference god; then he says he does the harlem shake (Harlem Renaissance anyone?) When Lil Wayne comes on he makes tons of social references too. He has two two of repitition of words and syllables. He says : Im the hip hop rocker, Im the hip hop doctor. The way that they rhyme in this song sounds almost like a poem rather than a song.

If you compare "The Leak" to the type of rap songs that were created in the 80's there are some similarities and differences. This song, like many that we have studied, is making a statement about society. This song depictis what the life of a rapper is supposed to be like. Hip Hop groups like NWA and Public Enemy were trying to adress society's problems through their music. I feel that this song isn't so much addressing problems but stereotypes. I feel like the style of rap has changed. I feel like it just has a diffrent sound and flavor.

I feel like I've just written two posts about strong women and now im analyzing a song that is somewhat derogatory towards them. I dont know why it is but in general, many women dont think that rap music today is degrading to women, eventhough many women would be offended if they heard comments like those made in rap songs in real life. I listen to alot of rap and hip hop and I never find any of it offensive because I focus my attention on the music and the rhyme rather than the meaning of the song.
Click Here to listen to "The Leak" and see pictures of Lil Twist and Lil Wayne.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hip Hop in the 90's

In the summer of 1989 Public Enemy made changes in the form of "Fight the Power," which provided the end for hip-hop's first "golden age." Rap in 1990 focused largely on pop chart presence. The genres first two actual pop superstars, MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, released their breakthrough albums that year.

Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. are linked together in the minds of fans. Both were greatly talented, both changed the face of hip-hop before their murders. Losing two of its biggest and most talented stars in 1996 and 1997 signaled the end of an era.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reflecting on the Utter GREATNESS of my 7th Bell Poetry Class (which just so happens to have the best group of kids in the world --> Represent)

To look back on my initial step into the poetic world makes me laugh noticing the extreme conservative style of my writing. From my poem titled "Fort" to "The Language of a Tomato," I realize my inner voice instructED me to rhyme every other line. Looking back, however to my more recent poems, I have noticed my writing to break away from standards and set rules. This breaking away, I believe, is the true beauty of poetry, just like Mrs. Lewis taught us. My 7th bell class has shown me that poetry can be anything you want it to be.

In poetry, the word "unique" should be outlawed, because every time the pen strikes the page, something new is created...everything is then "unique."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hip Hop in the 80's

Even though Hip Hop music started in South Bronx in the mid-1970s, the golden age of Hip Hop was during the 80’s. The earliest form of Hip Hop was party music and was generally played using synths or full bands. Modern sampling does not appear until Marley Marl accidentally in the early '80s. Also, hip-hop lyricism did not start until 1982, more than a half decade after the actual start.

Run DMC were the first to prove that the genre could be commercially viable in 1983. After that many artists started on the West Coast and Miami Bass became well known in the South.

“What was so great about the ’80s? There were no cookie cutter strip club videos with rappers sliding credit cards through women’s backsides (Nelly), for one. Radio hadn’t blared corporate play lists into fans’ home furniture. And rappers had an individual sound that was dictated by their region and their communities, not by a marketing strategist.”

I liked this answer and I could not change it, so I quoted it from.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Hip-Hop Music of the '80s

Hip-Hop, now in the development stage, became increasingly more complex. Artists began to incorporate a "cut and paste" technique, shout-outs, as well as echos and other sound effects.

Technology such as drum machines, were introduced during the '80s. The Oberheim DMX and the Roland TR-808 were prominent in songs produced in the '80s. Further improvements on the drum machines allowed for more memory to hold songs, and opened up new doors for creative production.

Electro music, a sub-genre of Hip-Hop, also had increasing interest from wide-opened-eared listeners. Cybotron, Hashim, Planet Patrol and Newcleus were all important Electro genre musicians. However, the most notable was the great Afrika Bambaataa, whose hit "Planet Rock" took the genre to the next plateau.

Women in the 1980's (gone badass)

Tonight when I sat down to write this post, I was feeling particularly bummed about a bad haircut. I really was not in the mood to do anything but I began to think about women and what is important to them. Female rappers in the 1980's overcame a whole lot more than tragic hair cuts and dealt with not only their own problems, but society's problems through their work.

When I think about the 80's and the new styles that poetry embraced, it is easy think of hip hop and to associate it with groups like NWA and Public enemy. It is easy to forget that women, such as Queen Latifah and Salt-N- Pepa were making a name for themselves in the world of rap.

Queen Latifah was born Dana Owens on March 17, 1970 in Newark New Jersey. Latifah loved rap and was inspired to form a group with two of her friends called Ladies Fresh. This was Latifah'f first experience getting her music heard and by the time she graduated high school, her first two singles had sold over 40,000 copies. In 1989 Latifah released her first album, All Hail the Queen which sold over 1 million copies. She was influenced by many political and social issues such as apartheid, women's rights, and poverty. In 1993, Queen Latifah was influenced more by her personal life when she released her first Motown album Black Reign. This album was greatly influenced by the 1992 death of her brother, who lost his life in a motor cycle accident. Since then Latifah has released several other albums and branched out into almost every area imaginable. She is a rapper, actress, cover girl, and successful business woman. Watch Queen Latifa's music video for U.N.I.T.Y.here.

Salt-N-Pepa are pretty much badasses because they were the first all female rap crew, and like Queen Latifah, they broke into hip hop, making it easier for women in the future to do the same. Cheryl "salt" James and Sandy "Pepa" Denton found their first rap success when Salt's boyfriend Hurby Azor asked them to rap on a song that he was producing for a music class. This song evolved into an underground hit, rising to number 46 on the R&B charts. Their success elevated from there; (who says love and business dont mix). Many of their early songs were moderate hits, however once they teamed up with a rapper and DJ named Spindarella their music took off. The group eventually split from Azor, who had broken up with Salt years before. Like many poets, Salt & Pepa's style evolved and matured over time.

Sources: http://www.gale.cengage.com/free_resources/bhm/bio/latifah_q.htm

Poets of the 1970's

When I sat down to begin this post (at least three different times) I struggled to decide what to write about. After meeting with Mrs. Lewis to ease my frustrations, we decided that I should focus on what women were doing in poetry.

Mrs Lewis made the wonderful suggestion to look at Sonia Sanchez. She became particularly fabulous in my eyes when I learned that she was born September 9, 1934 meaning that we have the same birthday..we're just a few years apart. Sanchez spent a great deal of her time in New York. She moved to Harlem with her sister in 1943 and did post graduate work at NYU after attending Hunter College. Sanchez formed a writers workshop in Greenwich village attended by many influential poets of the Black Arts Movement, including Amiri Baraka who I mentioned in my last post. She also formed the "Broadside Quartet" of young poets, which was introduced and promoted by Dudley Randall, who was also mentioned in my last blog post. Sonia married Albert Sanchez, and in spite of their divorce, she used his surname in her writing. She was briefly married to Etheridge Knight, an incredibly well known poet of the Black Arts Movement. In 1971, she briefly joined the nation of Islam but left the faith because of their repression of women. Sanchez was certainly not a woman to be repressed. Her list of accomplishments is almost as long as one of her more than 12 books of poetry. She's published both plays and children's books, receiving many many awards for her accomplishments. I am now inspired to read her book "Homegirls and Handgrenades" simply because of the fantastic title.

Another woman who was important in the Black Arts Movement is Nikki Giovanni. She was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on June 7, 1943. She was raised in Cincinnati Ohio and attended Fisk University. Giovanni used her African American identity to inspire her poetry. She received countless awards not only for her writing but for her strong character. She is an inspiration to all women because she made a name for herself as a poet and writer and survived lung cancer. She is currently a professor of English and Black Studies at Virginia Tech.

It was very hard to become inspired enough to write this post. Thanks to my teacher and librarian I got some great ideas. This Nikki Giovanni poem is all about libraries and librarians.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hip Hop Music of the '70s

The 1970s birthed another genre to the music industry...Hip-Hop. The Griot group, one of the earliest known group of singers and poets, had their claim to fame during the 70s as they combined their talents to produce pieces of the unique genre. Their style is actually very similar to that of rappers. To help the baby genre grow, block parties pushed music to the next level in NYC, especially the Bronx. DJs were prominent at the block parties. Funk and soul music fueled their libraries and their love for music inspired them to try something new. The DJs started to isolate "percussion breaks" of the decades popular songs. This isolation resulted in something more commonly known as "beating." The same beating we hear in modern hip-hop!

A hero and revolutionary of Hip-Hop, was DJ Kool Herc, who came from Jamaica, and became the "godfather of Hip-Hop." Originally Herc shared his love for reggae music, but quickly shifted to funk, soul, and disco after recognizing the dislike of the genre. He disliked the shortness of the percussion breaks so, he decided to stretch them using an audio mixer and TWO records.

Turntablist techniques, for example, mixing and scratching, were developed by Grand Wizard Theodore. These techniques allowed for artists to rap over the music by developing them along with the breaks --> Hip-Hop. To watch an awesome video about songs that inspired a modern DJ to mix click HERE.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

black Art Movement in 70's

By 1970 Black Arts theaters and cultural centers were active throughout America. For example, the New Lafayette Theatre and Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre. Also, in 1970 The Black Woman, which was edited by Toni Cade Bambara, was the first major Black feminist anthology. The Black Aesthetic in 1971 is significant because it both expresses and characterizes Black Arts theory.

The decline of the Black Arts movement began in 1974 when the Black Power movement was disrupted. Black political organizations were disrupted and defeated by repressive government actions. However, in May 1974, the key internal events in the disruption were the split between nationalists and Marxists in the African Liberation Support Committee.


black Art Movement in 60's

In March 1965 after the assassination of Malcolm X, LeRoi Jones moved from Manhattan's Lower East Side uptown to Harlem, who considered being the starter of the Black Arts movement. Jones was a great publisher, a famous poet, a major music detractor, and an Obie Award-winning playwright. Also, Jones was the most respected and most widely published Black writer of his generation.

When Jones moved uptown to found the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School “BARTS”, which is the formal beginning of Black Arts. This literary movement had its connections with groups such as the Umbra Workshop. Umbra was a group of young Black writers in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Umbra, which produced Umbra Magazine, was the first post-civil right Black literary group to make an impact and make their voice spread.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hip Hop Music of the '60s

The idea of Hip-Hop, was actually non-existent in the 1960s. Instead, graffiti was used to express political views and beliefs. Other forms of expression were also used, for instance breaking. Breaking is more commonly known as break dancing or B-boying. Both methods of expression were manipulated and physical expression evolved into audible expression in the 1970s.

The cultural movement of Hip-Hop, began with African and Latino Americans in New York. DJ Afrika Bambaataa birthed the five divisions of Hip-Hop: MCing, DJing, breaking, graffiti writing, and knowledge.

Poets of the Black Arts Movement (60's)

Many poets contributed to and shaped the Black Arts movement, especially in its early stages throughout the 1960's. Some of the most influencial poets of the Black Arts Movement include Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Dudley Randall.

Amiri Baraka is often credited with giving birth to the Black Arts Movement. Amiri Baraka was born in 1934 in Newark, New Jersey. He attended Howard University and served in the United States Air force before eventually settling down in New York's Greenwich Village. Baraka was a central figure in the bohemian scene and became known throughout New York from his work in the play Dutchman. The death of Malcom X inspired him to become a Black Nationalist, moving to Harlem and eventually back to Newark. He spent 20 years teaching African studies at SUNY-Stony Brook, before retiring. He is still active and productive as an artist and an intellectual. 1957-1962 was Baraka's beat period. He published little magazines such as Yugen and Floating Bear. He socialized with many other prominent Beat poets such Ginsberg and O'hara. 1965-1974 was the Black Nationalist period. This was the period after the death of Malcom X where Baraka left the Bohemian scene. He stated in "The Legacy of Malcolm X, and the Coming of the Black Nation," that "Black People are a race, a culture, a Nation." He turned his back on the white world and established the Black Arts Repertory Theater School in Harlem. In 1967 he published Black Magic, which tells the story of how he left the black world and fully embraced the African American Culture.

Gwendolyn Brooks was born in Topeka, Kansas and raised in Chicago. Brooks has written over 20 poetry books including Children Coming Home, To Disembark, and To Disembark . She also wrote several novels. In 1968 she was named poet Laureate for the state of Illinois. Brooks also received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Frost Medal, a National Endowment for the Arts award, the Shelley Memorial Award, and fellowships from The Academy of American Poets and the Guggenheim Foundation. She lived in Chicago until her death on December 3, 2000. She lived in Illinois until her death in 2003.

Dudley Randall was born January 14, 1914 in Washington, DC but moved to Detroit in 1920. His first published poem appeared in The Detroit Free Press when he was only 13. Randall had a brief teaching assignment in 1969. After that he worked as a librarian at the University of Detroit in 1974. He was greatly interested in Russia and visited the country in 1966. This interest in Russia was evident in his poems. In 1963, he wrote"Ballad of Birmingham" in response to a church bombing where four young girls were killed. "Ballad of Birmingham was later turned into a song. In response to this he started Broadside Press in 1965 to protect his rights. After the Detroit Riot in 1967, Randall published Cities Burning (1968), a group of thirteen poems, all but one previously uncollected. Dudley grew to have a reputation as a pioneer in African American book publishing and is remembered for his powerful poetry.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Post Segment!

Hey fellow bloggers and blog readers! Our editors and blogging staff members have decided to segment the transformation of the Black Arts Movement to Hip-Hop into decades. Check back tomorrow for a new post about the 1960s! Keep on blogging and happy President's Day!

Black Art Movement

The black Art movement is the artistic branch of the Black Power movement. A writer named Amiri Baraka in 1965 started it in Harlem, and it changed into action by the assassination of Malcolm X in February of that year. With roots in the Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X, and the Black Power Movement, Black Arts are usually dated from 1960 to 1970. African American artists within the movement wanted to create politically engaged work that explored the African American cultural and historical experience. In 1965, it moved uptown to establish the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School “BARTS” which considered being the formal beginning.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


What is it exactly? Referred to as the "artistic sister" of the Black Power Movement, the Black Arts Movement is a movement during the 1960s and '70s in Harlem, which altered the American mindset of literature as well as add ethnicity to great American authors and poets.

Most works produced from the Black Arts Movement focused on African American culture. The importance of black men and women in America also was key.

Amiri Baraka, formerly known as LeRoi Jones, a writer and activist, was credited for starting the movement. After Malcolm X's assassination in 1965, Baraka moved from Manhattan's Lower East Side to Harlem. He then founded The Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School. The The Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School was an inspiration for people wanting to create a "strong aesthetic" in American theatre.

The Black Arts Movement inspired and KEEPS inspiring artists and musicians today. It is safe to say there would be no Jay Z, no Lil' Wayne, no Stevie Wonder, no Kid Cudi, no 2 Pac, no Biggie...no Hip-Hop, if not for the Black Arts Movement.