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Major ASsignments

Paper #1: Hip Hop Literacy Narrative

This paper is an opportunity to work on our skills as story-tellers. It is also a chance for you to explore your relationship with hip hop music and/or culture.  I want you to think critically about how hip hop has influenced you as an individual, student, and/or a writer and to be able to analyze that effect and convey it to an audience.
You can write about your early experiences with hip hop, your like (or dislike) for certain aspects, and evolution in an opinion, or a particular way hip hop has been a positive or negative influence in your life.
The bottom line is that you can write about almost any aspect of hip hop culture and your relationship with it. But the final paper should either focus around one central story/moment or should have a strong theme that ties together many aspects for a clearly defined purpose. This essay should include scenes, dialogue, and should demonstrate a clear and distinct narrative voice. 

Paper #2: Persuasive Research Paper


This paper is an opportunity for you to do research on an aspect of hip hop that particularly interests you, come to an educated opinion, make a claim, and argue it. 


Remember, your job is not to summarize your sources or to explain a particular aspect or phenomenon, but rather to propose and persuade your audience of a claim. So, make sure you pick an angle that is debatable. The hard part is coming up with a good question and then synthesizing your research to help you back up that claim.


To help make this process easier, I’ve broken this paper down into specific smaller assignments that will help focus your research.


The final paper must include a minimum of five secondary sources and at least one primary source.


Paper Length: 8-10 pages 


2.1: Question, Proposal, and Annotated Bibliography (2-3 pages)

For this draft you will be turning in a research question that will drive your inquiry. Your proposal at this stage will include why you have chosen the question you chose, how you plan to explore the question through research, and why this topic and how you can add to the conversation in a new, interesting way. You may also talk about potential challenges you for see or concerns you might have.


You will also be including an MLA style annotated bibliography on five secondary sources. Your notes should include how relevant the source is to your question, an analysis of the source’s credibility, how hard/easy the source is to read and access, and a brief summary of the source’s argument.

Note: the sources in your annotated bibliography do not have to be the sources you end up using later in your paper. Often the sources we end up using changes drastically.


2.2: Outline, Research Notes, Thesis (3-5 pages)

This draft should start developing your paper. The draft should include your research notes, an idea of how you are going to answer your question, what points/arguments you will use, and, of course, what your argument/thesis will be. The outline should be very clearly outlined and should include the breakdown of your argument and how and where you will utilize your sources. Please also include an updated bibliography.


2.3: Draft (8-10 pages)

This third installment will be a draft of your full paper. It should include a clear thesis/argument, an introduction, conclusion, MLA style in-text citations, and another updated bibliography. 

Paper #3: Analysis

At this point in the semester you should be starting to understand the different ways we can analyze texts. This paper provides you with the opportunity to put those skills to test.


Each of you will choose a text (or texts) to analyze. You can do a close reading analysis of a particular song, album, or music video or you may prefer to do a comparative analysis. Your analysis should include the rhetorical aspects we’ve talked about in class.


Make sure your paper focuses on analysis and not summary. Even though this is not a research paper, it should still have a clear thesis. Additional sources are optional. Analysis should be done with purpose and intent in order to demonstrate or highlight an aspect of the text(s).

Final Project: Mixed Tape

For your final assignment of the semester, you’ll be creating the playlist of a hip hop mix tape designed to highlight hip hop at its best.


The play list should include five songs. I want you to think carefully about why you’re picking the songs you’re picking, the order you’re putting them in, and also come up with a title for your mix tape. Along with the list of the songs and their artists, I also want you to tell me why you’ve picked each song and why you’ve put them in the specific order you’ve chosen.


You will not be graded on whether I like your songs or not (everyone has different tastes), but rather on the thought process behind why you are choosing the songs you’ve chosen. You will also pick ONE song that you think best embodies hip hop music and culture from your play list and tell me why. This song should be the one song you would play for someone who might ask you “what is hip hop?”

Playlsits of Past Mixed Tapes

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