Old School

Reading guide

Please keep these questions in mind as you work through this week’s text and documentary film.

  • What were the specific historical and environmental conditions that gave rise to hip-hop culture?
  • How did the Cross-Bronx Expressway change the neighborhood of the South Bronx?
  • How does Jeff Chang characterize the “politics of abandonment” in the South Bronx?
  • How did Kool Herc’s family influence his relationship with music?
  • What is the difference between hip-hop culture and rap?
  • Based on the film, how would you define “the art of rap”?

 To learn more about Jeff Chang, visit his website: https://jeffchang.net/ 

By the end of this module, students will be able to:

  1. place the birth of hip hop in the social-historical location of the South Bronx
  2. identify Kool Herc’s influence on hip hop culture
  3. develop a working understanding of the key difference between hip hop culture and rap


 ▢ Complete readings and answer discussion questions 

Our discussion question for the week:

  • From what we’ve read and viewed thus far (including this week’s readings and film), how would you characterize the relationship between hip hop culture and rap?
    • Please incorporate the reading and film into your initial post on Wednesday.
    • It might be helpful to think of the first response as working towards your assigned definition of hip hop. In other words, use this week’s film, readings and posts to start gathering and preparing your thoughts and quotes for the paper (more details on syllabus). It might be helpful to think of your conversations with others as part of working out your rough draft.
    • Try to minimize phrases like “I feel like…”  It’s fine to write in the first person, but I want to see that you have heard and understand what authors and artists have to say on the subject.
    • As always, please cite references, including the names of any artists quoted from the documentary.

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