Hip-Hop Defined

Lesson 1: Intro - What Does Hip-Hop mean to you?


  • To explore various definitions and understanding of Hip-Hop Culture and its complexities, and to engage the participants in discussing their own definitions of Hip-Hop and what it means to them on a personal level.



Ice Breaker:

Have each student answer the following question:

  1. What is Hip-Hop and what does it mean to you?


Encourage further discussion by asking participants the following questions (fill in any gaps):

  1. Who defines Hip-Hop?
  2. What does Hip-Hop mean to you?
  3. What are the main elements of Hip-Hop?
  4. Where/who/how did Hip-Hop start?
  5. Is Hip-Hop a Culture?

Handout A: "Hip-Hop declaration of Peace"
Handout B: "Hip-Hop Timeline".


Do research on a rapper from the "Hip-Hop Timeline" and bring it back to the class for next time.

Question & Answer (Informal Evaluation)

Time for participants to ask questions, give comments and feedback about anything they found interesting from the workshop

Lesson 2: Is Hip-Hop Dead?


  • To show participants that Hip-Hop is in a critical state of deterioration and how this is a also a reflection of how our communities/society is deteriorating as well.



Activity: Where do you stand?

This portion of the activity gets participants on their feet and moving around. Create an (imaginary or real) line on the floor stretching from one side of the room to the other. On one side will be yes, on the other will be no and a spectrum in between. Option 2 is to have 3 different groups of yes, no, maybe allocated to different places in the room as opposed to a line.


Line with Yes Maybe No

Facilitator will ask participants questions and according to their answers have them position themselves along this line. e.g. Q: do you like chocolate? A: Very strongly yes! That person would stand at the very extreme end of “Yes”.

Tip: Start off with easy “fluff” questions and then work into deeper questions relating to the theme.

Activity Questions

  1. Do you like winter?
  2. Do you like pizza?
  3. Do you like school?
  4. Are you a fan of Hip-Hop?
  5. Do you think Violence is necessary?
  6. Do you think Hip-Hop is a black culture?
  7. Do you think Hip-Hop is just for guys?
  8. Do women in Hip-Hop have power?
  9. Do you need to have money to be Hip-Hop?
  10. Do you need to be from the Hood to be Hip-Hop?
  11. Do you think Media like BET portrays “real Hip-Hop?”
  12. Is Hip-Hop dead?

Videos & Discussion

Handout: Nas - "Hip-Hop is Dead" (song lyrics)
Handout: Queen Latifah - "U.N.I.T.Y" (song lyrics)

Video 1: Nas - “Hip-Hop is Dead” (music video, hand out song lyrics)
Play video, or Uncensored video (3:56 min).

Discussion Questions:

  1. If we follow the same thinking as Nas, who or what killed Hip-Hop?
  2. When did Hip-Hop “die”?
  3. How could you argue that Hip-Hop is not dead?
  4. What if Hip-Hop dies (stops existing)? What would you do?

Video 2: Lil Mama - “Lip Gloss” (music video)
Play video (4:17 min).

(Facilitator’s Note: this is an example of why people think Hip-Hop is dead)

Video 3: Queen Latifah - “U.N.I.T.Y” (music video, hand out song lyrics)
Play video (4:18 min).

Discussion Questions:

  1. This is a music video from back in the day. Some people think this is when Hip-Hop was more “real” or relevant. Why do you think they think that?
  2. At the end of the day how important is your Lip Gloss compared to talking about how men mistreat women and objectify them?


The Students Commission