English 51 - Winter, 2019

Hot Bars, Supreme Lyrics, & Rhymes for Days: Hip Hop as Poetry

Class Information

Instructor: Heard Mollel, Danielle
CRN: 54894
Time: TR 3:10-4:30
Location: 6 Wellman


    This course considers hip hop as a source of some of the greatest innovators of American poetry, from Afrika Bambaataa to Rakim to Nas, Tupac, Mos Def, Jay Z, to Kendrick Lamar. It examines MC-ing—the composition and performance or rap lyrics—in relation to the other four pillars of hip hop: Turntablism, graffiti, b-boying, and knowledge. Attention will be paid to different innovators’ art of the line and to how performance of rap lyrics brings attention to poetic structures upon which audience pleasure depends.

    Primary texts include: Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop, by Adam Bradley and a course playlist consisting of approximately 30 songs/artists along with transcriptions of the song lyrics.


    Attendance and Participation 30%
    Presentations 40%
    Short Essays 30%


    Course Playlist on Canvas
    PDFs on Canvas