During first quarter, I was unsure how to structure the content of this course. I had an awesome line-up of guest artists visit and "talk story" with the students including: Punahele, Tantra, C-Light, Pedro Ramon, as well as real-life field trips to
About the Goods streetwear store, the Primaphonix recording studio, and a breakdancing class by HawaiiHipHop.com. Students basically got a comprehensive survey of the hip hop elements, but primarily focused on emceeing since that's what I do. I'd say that the skills my students learn are things like cultural awareness, creative thinking and writing, and self-confidence. All day these middle schoolers are told how to act and behave, and don't get me wrong, I've already gotten a reputation for being a strict teacher, but also a lot of fun. We listen to music, watch music videos, and always try to freestyle at the end of class, which usually attracts a crowd from the other After-School All-Stars.
What has been most rewarding for me as a teacher are the little things that I notice about my students such as their self-confidence in sharing their poetry and raps. What I try to stress to them is that I'm showing them how writing allowed me to express myself as a teenager, and how that skill has exponentially allowed me to grow as a person and a business brand. I don't expect all of them to build their own businesses off of music, but at least I can plant creative ideas in their mind.
During our first quarter party, Rap 101 students' recorded an After-School All-Stars theme song and it was shared via slideshow for other students and school faculty to see.
As far as structure, I start each class with a 5 minute free write session. Students come in, grab their journals, sit down, and answer the question of the day. These questions range from hip hop topics to general personal questions. After I give them time to write, we gather in a "circle break" to share our answers. When we completed quarter 1, many students mentioned how they like sharing their thoughts and feelings with each other. I was honestly surprised at how receptive they grew to share with each other. Each class has different content and a guest artist, if he/she is available. I think it's hella dope to see students interacting with other young adults and artists in their community that are using hip hop/rap positively, and students are always really excited to have "famous" people in their class. Lol.
There is truly so much more I can share, but I'm simply grateful for this opportunity for me to be a part of these kids' lives, even for a short while in their youth. Providing them a lens to look at the world through hip hop has already changed many of their perspectives, and I will continue working to do so. There is so much curriculum out there and I'm not saying hip hop is the magic means to teach kids, but I know what it's teaching mine and I know more students can benefit from this.
Stay tuned for the next update! Thank you for reading OTDHipHop fam!
Aloha OTDHipHop fam!! It’s Tuesday, so yardyknow I got a track review for yall. Before we start, know these blog posts have been sporadic in the past few months. Proud to say though, I am now teaching business at a college and rap at a middle school, and it’s low key changing my life! I will be sharing about that a lot deeper, very soon. Anyway, check out the homie Johari L and his new visuals for his song “Mad House,” off his newest project Probably Seen on TV with a special review here on OTDHipHop.
First off, Mad House is what I call record material. Johari produced, wrote, recorded, performed, mixed, and mastered the ENTIRE track, along with being the royal mind scheme behind the visuals. The beat has a steady deep, grungy vibe with a trap attitude. One thing I like about Johari on this track is how the lyrics, flow, and delivery flow so smoothly together over the instrumental itself. The little details in his adlibs and backing really bring out the dark visuals and honest storytelling.
Shouts out to Director G0RDOTR0N, and cinematographer Nathan Moore! The music video itself is just as high quality as the track. The visuals seem simple and complex at the same time, very similar to how I feel about the track. It’s amazing! It has a conceptual, dark perspective, only showing different angles of the artist at a time. The transitions and effects create a more distorted visual, which keeps me engaged as a listener and viewer. Overall, I’m impressed with this project and I’m excited to check out the rest of Probably Seen on TV.
Aloha & welcome back OTDHipHop fam!
Over the span of 2 years, Canadian hip hop artist X-Plycit, has done over 140 live shows, and opened up for Caine TL, Snak The Ripper, Evil Ebenezer, Doom Squad, Robbie G, Split Vizion, and more! Today’s “Mixtape Monday” features Underrated, X-Plycit’s album. She states that this album was a huge personal journey for her, as she found her voice and herself. You can check out her album and music on all digital music outlets (Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Music, etc). Overall, I rate Underrated a 4 out of 5 stars. I appreciate X-Plycit’s trueness and integrity that she has for her unique style and sound. My only critique would be to keep developing that sound more professionally as she progresses in the underground scenes and industry. Scroll down to see my review and a list of X-Plycit’s upcoming show!
Track 1: Restless Streets – Feat. Dev The Follower & RK (Produced by Nookie Beats)
I really dig the beat and production for this track. There seems to be a cool blend of rock and hip hop on styles, especially on the hook. X-Plycit showcases her own style, and passion to hustle and keep working towards her goals.
Track 2: Don’t Drag Me Down (Produced by KTC)
I dig the old school “boom bap” sound in the instrumental, and the hook is easy to vibe to. The message is positive, with X-Plycit diving passionately into her journey as a music artist. She highlights personal issues and how she battles staying focused through the stress and haters. Even if I might not be “used to” her deep raspy flow, I can see that her verses is where she shines on this track. She reminds me of Tech Nine’s and Hospin’s sinister styles, but with a feminine energy, and her own raw message.
Track 3: Collide – Feat. JPimpin (Produced by Nookie Beats)
Another great beat choice and production. It has a darker hip hop feel and flows like a cypher. X-Plycit adds to the theatrics of this song with her own “weather update audio.” I think her and JPimpin flow well together on this track.
Track 4: Underrated – Feat. King Tha Caper (Produced by Kase Beatz)
This is a fire track hands down! The beat is so heavy and grimy; X-Plycit and King The Casper do a “call and response” type of flow together on the hook, which I think is hella creative. X-Plycit remains consistent with her raw style and passion. King The Caper’s feature is hella dope, definitely see the Tech Nine and Eminem influence for both artists.
Track 5: Skull & Bones – Feat Bigg Ceaser (Produced by Bigg Ceaser)
X-Plycit really knows how to pick beats that fit her style! This track has a more psychedelic type of feel with deep bass, similar to Bone Thugz. Like the other collabs on this album, the two artists flow well together, especially on the hook. X-Plycit can definitely spit, wordplay must look and sound great at her live shows!
Track 6: The Battle (Produced by Nookie Beats)
This track sounds like a poem written from a very dark place for X-Plycit. Using the metaphor of a “battle,” she fights her own demons and basically shares her personal struggles and how she “can’t give in.”
Track 7: We on the Grind – Feat Fortunato (Produced by Nookie Beats)
This is my personal favorite from Underrated. Fortunato opens up the track with his own smooth flow, and then transitions into X-Plycit on the hook. The topic of this song is basically the aspirational dreams she has as a music artist, while battling staying true through the journey of it all. X-Plycit’s raw style is a great contrast from Fortunato’s more laid back flow.
X-Plycit’s Upcoming shows:
Oct. 11th - Opening for Prada West in Hamilton’s Hess Village at Blu
Oct. 15th - Opening for Prada West in Toronto at Nocturne
Oct. 26th - Opening for Lil Debbie and Raven Felix at Reflections in Halifax
Nov. 25th - Performing at Rappin Gifts for Christmas Daddies on Cape Breton Island.
(It is put on by Loyalty Entertainment Group, all the profits go towards giving Christmas to families in need, and 50% of all artist merchandise sales at the show will go to the charity.)
Wize Up Entertainment (Toronta, Canada)
X-Plycit is sponsored by Wize Up Entertainment, based in Toronto. WizeUp is a record label and clothing brand focused on art, music, and entrepreneurship. X-Plycit will be a brand ambassador for WizeUp, wearing their clothing and other branded items during shows and other promotions.
Music & lifestyle blog curated by JehzanExclusive.
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