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MUSI3132 Global Hip Hop

Module Overview

Hip-hop is one of the most ubiquitous, lucrative and popular musics in the world. Although it emerged in the South Bronx (New York City) in the 1970s, the history of hip-hop goes far beyond the USA and includes myriad transnational exchanges. Hip-hop has always been global, and its production and consumption during the last four decades has been closely linked to recent stages of globalisation, to emergent technologies, and to powerful multinational corporations. Hip-hop thus provides a fascinating case study for considering shifting global flows, and intersections between the global and the local. The module aims to develop your critical awareness of hip-hop as a social phenomenon and the ways that scholars have approached hip hop. The main focus of this course will be rap music, and we will also touch on other elements of hip-hop including DJing (turntablism), breakdancing (b-boys, b-girls), graffiti and knowledge. Various case studies from around the globe will be presented over the course of the semester from contexts with may include the African subcontinent, Cuba, Japan, the UK and the USA. The types of issues that may be explored include: transnational flows, black power movements, language, sampling, authenticities, racialization processes, gender, class, social critique, and consumerism. The module will be based on the study of books and articles, and close listening and viewing of audio-visual materials.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Critically assess how one genre impacts on broader social phenomenon including globalisation  Examine the ways in which musics are produced, consumed and commercialised in contemporary global contexts  Familiarise you with theoretical approaches to studying hip hop  Explore a range of manifestations of hip hop within distinct social contexts

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The impact of musics on broader social phenomenon such as globalisation
  • The ways in which hip hop contributes to producing local musics and local socialities
  • Relevant theoretical approaches to the study of hip hop
  • How global flows and local contexts contribute to shaping manifestations of hip hop


A series of topics will be presented over the semester with each topic examining hip-hop within a distinct social context. Examples of questions/issues that may be explored include:  How do histories of hip-hop relate to transnational flows, to the US civil rights and black power movements? How is authenticity articulated in hip-hop cultures?  How might we understand sexist, homophobic and violent manifestations of hip-hop?  What is the relationship of hip-hop to the culture industries?  How are identities created via sampling, music and language?  How have local ideas about ‘blackness’, ethnicity, class, sexuality and gender, age, clothing, commercialisation, nation, politics, and religion intersected with hegemonic hip-hop ideologies?

Special Features

For features such as field trips, information should be included as to how students with special needs will be enabled to benefit from this or an equivalent experience.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include  Lectures  Discussion  Sharing of ideas and materials via Blackboard and other electronic resources Learning activities include  A wide range of reading (certain books and articles will be required reading)  Study of selected audio and video recordings  Individual research

Wider reading or practice42
Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Completion of assessment task60
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Tony Mitchell (2001). Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA, Music/Culture. 

Module Blackboard site. 

Ian Condry (2006). Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization. 

Dipannita Basu and Sidney J Lemelle (2006). The Vinyl Ain't Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture. 

Murray Forman and Mark Anthony Neal (2012). That's the Joint! The Hip-Hop Studies Reader. 

Mark Katz (2012). Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ. 

Hartley Library reserves. 

Hartley Library audio/visual reserves. 

Eric S Charry (2012). Hip Hop Africa: New African Music in a Globalizing World. 


Assessment Strategy

Include details of the proportion and weighting of coursework as well as the number, type and duration of examination(s). You must specify which element will be taken as the final assessment.


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 40%
Essay  (2000 words) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  ( words) 40%
Essay  ( words) 60%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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