Hip hop as Pedagogy

Steve Spence
Updated: 25 February 2016

Rap artists become teachers

"Pedagogy" is the art and science of teaching. A particular pedagogy is a specific approach toward or system of teaching something to someone. Likewise, a thing is "pedagogical" if it is intended to teach.

This chapter, "Pedagogy and Performance in Black Popular Culture," from Greg Dimitriadis's Performing Identity/Performing Culture marks the moment when many lyricists and MC's began to think of themselves as teachers.

Boogie Down Productions (feat. KRS-One): First album cover

KRS-One Criminal Minded

Boogie Down Productions (feat. KRS-One): Second album

Malcolm and Boogie Down Productions

"The message of By All Means Necessary, however, was considerably clearer, reflecting rap's increasingly explicit role as a tool for political communication and activism—as reflected on tracks like 'My Philosophy' and 'Stop the Violence,' among others" (Dimitriadis 55).

Run–D.M.C. and “Cock Rock” (Dimitriadis 53)

Dimitriadis, 55

As I noted, these popular texts circulated in the space vacated by school-like curricula, which took on less and less relevance with the ascent of conservative regimes in the 1980s.