The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday March 25th

History of hip-hop class and its final performance explore genre through generations

Junior Jihanne Burgess said early in the semester, professor Perry Hall posed a question to the class: “Does hip-hop live in hip-hop lives?”

“It was kind of a question that provoked us all to think about the way we perceive rap in our generation as opposed to how rap was perceived in other generations,” Burgess said.

“There’s been the notion that hip-hop is dead and then there are some people who believe it’s not dead at all and it’s very much alive and it’s thriving.”

The final project will be an event entitled “Hip-Hop Lives in Hip-Hop Lives,” on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the Hitchcock room of the Stone Center.

The event will include performances by local artists and student hip-hop dance group Kamikazi.

The class also put together a video in which they interview students and faculty members about what hip-hop means to them.

“With this event we kind of wanted to focus on really defining what hip-hop was to different generations, and I guess ultimately answering the question of, ‘Is hip-hop still alive?’” Burgess said.

Hall said when students are allowed to do extracurricular activities for a class, it lets them use their creativity.

He said he hopes this project will give his students that opportunity.

“It’s just to shine a light on the diversity and force conversations that otherwise might not be had in a final exam or a paper or anything like that,” Burgess said.

Though Hall gave some direction with logistics and suggestions, he said he tried to impose as little as possible because he wanted the students to take the lead.

“What I notice is that once students get engaged, they kinda take it on and start owning it,” Hall said.

“It’s something that’s part of their own self-expression, and it really does energize them. Creativity emerges and leadership emerges because they have to work in groups, and it works out pretty well as a capstone experience for the class.”

Junior Charles Smith said he hopes those who attend the event will gain an appreciation for hip-hop, and that people can recognize its relevance across generations.

“I think we want to be able to combine the two generations and being able to just bond over a common interest,” Smith said.

The event will conclude with a panel of faculty members and students. The panel is expected to address a variety of issues, including how race, gender, art and fashion and activism are discussed and expressed through hip-hop.

“I feel like it’s beneficial because it forces people in the class and it forces people that attend the event to think about the genre from different perspectives,” Burgess said.


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