How are they connected? Why are they connected? And why hip-hop deserves some recognition within English Departments?
Unbound Project Proposal
Some people say poetry is dead, that it is relegated to the confines of retrospective discourses found within English Departments. It is an art form that has passed, and has seemingly lost its appeal to artists as well as art consumers. What happened to the solitary poets huddled in corners scrawling their impassioned thoughts and beliefs? Where are the poets, whom in previous generations, gathered in masses to share their written/spoken art form with each other? Has poetry really vanished? Upon closer examination it is evident that poetry is alive and well, and one place in which it is manifesting is within a contemporary genre of music. This genre of music is hip-hop. So, essentially my thesis proposal is to critically examine hip-hop from two primary vantage points, hip-hop as art, and hip-hop as a venue for political and social commentary.
Aesthetically speaking, I will examine the formal structure of contemporary hip-hop and identify its underlying characteristics. Enumerated below are some of the question in which I will answer in my thesis paper. What aesthetically differentiates hip-hop from other genres of music, how is hip-hop musically and lyrically distinct, and how and why does hip-hop constitute legitimate art? I will draw from a variety of sources that address the aesthetics of art, and poetry. I will also examine hip-hop's literary significance, and how it compares, as well as differs, from more traditional forms of poetry and literature?
Also, I will identify and examine hip-hop's political and social aspects. Some questions in which I will answer are: what is hip-hop's political and social significance, and does hip-hop have any political and social ramifications? If so, are they good or are they bad? Do they attempt to deconstruct or perpetuate social inequities or do they avoid these issues altogether? To fully flesh out the political or apolitical nature of hip-hop, I will be drawing ideas from marxism, feminism, ecocentrism, and post-colonialism, to name a few.