Hip Hopracy: "Hip-Hop and the University Imagination"

Hip Hop Congress Blog: November 5th, 2011 (Happy Guy Fawkes Day! )

Last week I made a trip out to the Claire Trevor part of campus and I had the pleasure of watching an exhibition called "Hip Hopracy." The show focused on educating the viewers on the roots of hip hop culture and how it traveled from parts of Africa such as Ghana and sprouted up in other countries such as Brazil in the form of dance. The evolution of hip-hop from the late 80s, 90s , and the past decade has affected the growth of other fields such as fashion, dance, and literature.

The main point of the show was how modern American culture is saturated with hip-hop elements and yet there still seems to be no direct credit given to the people who brought it over.

One of the speakers was Joe Knox, a leader of B-Boys Anonymous on campus here at UCI. He told his story of how he got into breakdancing and his definition of hip-hop. The rest of the panel featured African American scholars who sought to make hip-hop an established research subject at UCI Irvine and at other schools. Their belief is that if the subject matter is given proper analysis, then people would realize the massive contribution that immigrants, specifically African Americans, have given to society.

Breakdancing, Spoken Word Poetry, and Rap Battle were all cited as elements of hip-hop. The key point that I took out of the discussion was the importance of the cypher as a competitive foundation for the exchange of ideas and creativity that represents what hip-hop is all about. Without the cypher, true hip-hop is not possible. A circle of people coming together to express what's in their hearts and souls is a necessity for the growth of hip-hop and it's one of the things I feel should be the focus of our club.


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