Hip-Hop in the Curriculum

October 19, 2021 1 By Gledi Toci

After reading “Critical Hip Hop Pedagogy as a Form of Liberatory
” by A. A. Akom, I could not agree anymore with the impact hip-hop could have in a classroom. I have been listening to hip-hop/rap for almost my whole life. I had always enjoyed listening to hip-hop/rap because obviously it was catchy and had good beats but mainly the words. Hip-Hop artists will commonly share personal issues or social issues through their music, as a platform to have their voices heard. One song that comes to mind is “The Bigger Picture” by Lil Baby, which was made for his enormous fan base to share his thoughts on the BLM movement during the George Floyd situation. That is one recent example that brought a lot of attention but many hip-hop songs especially in the past touch on issues African-American people have along with their voice and perspective. Considering “Hip Hop is the dominant language of youth culture, and those of us who work with young people need to speak their language” (A. A. Akom 2009), and share the important message rappers share in their music.

This article does a good job of sharing some of the many issues that are talked about in hip-hop in regards to African American people. Being said hip-hop can be a great tool in classrooms in regards to promoting social justice and activism. This will bring a whole different perspective in classrooms, considering hip hop is now used to “explore social justice themes such as police brutality, Black incarceration, misogyny,
homophobia, racism, sexism, white supremacy” (A. A. Akom 2009). All these important topics are touched through many hip-hop songs, considering the impact these artist have with millions of listeners. Therefore, Akom is right, we need to involve hip-hop culture in classrooms, since so much can be taken away from it and a way to connect with students.

A development of critical consciousness amongst students will occur in the freedom students are given in education. Youth will have more creative ways to express themselves considering the diversity of hip-hop. For example students can express their feelings on important topics through hip-hop by writing a song as an assignment in an English class. Another example would be in social class teachers could help studnets learn about Adfrican American struggles with racism and more through hip-hop and have studnets reflect. Overall, hip-hop culture can be a great way for students to learn about social issues as well as a way for teachers to connect with this generation. In classrooms it will allow for more creativity and interpretations, something our education needs. As Akom suggests in the article, a praxis curriculum in the works.