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.
OTDHipHop is an independent music blog and network, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.