Final Paper

November 22, 2009

Final Paper Communication 283

10-12 pages

In this paper you will demonstrate and apply your knowledge of key concepts we have studied in this course by analyzing a hip-hop song of your choice. Your presentation will briefly summarize the ideas you are working with for your classmates. Plan to present for 5 minutes, including any clip time. I know that is extremely quick, but we have limited time. Choose the most engaging point from your analysis to share. If you present on December 3rd, it is understood that your work is at an earlier stage.

Please have your song chosen a first draft of a thesis Tuesday, 11/24.  Bring the first draft of your thesis and a printout of the lyrics you plan to address to class on Tuesday.  When choosing a song to analyze for this paper, remember that you may choose to focus on one stanza and a chorus, or the entire song.  While I hope you find a rich text to discuss, the focus of this assignment is on demonstrating and applying your knowledge of the course.

The key concepts that should be addressed in your paper are:

1) Authenticity or “authenticity”

2) Social Construction of Race

3) Historical/Industrial perspectives (who is profiting, who is buying, who   owns these representations, where do they come from)

4) Stereotype analysis (do these lyrics and images refute/reclaim/resist/critique or reiterate stereotypes? Which stereotypes, and how?)

Please refer to your notes, the readings for the class, and my handouts to be sure you are using terms correctly. Remember, you are not alone in writing this paper.  I expect you to cite at least two of the following scholars that you read for the class, in order to clarify and support your argument:

bell hooks

Michael Eric Dyson (From Beyond Beats Video)

Beverly Guy Sheftall (From Beyond Beats Video)

Melanie Campbell

Joan Morgan

Arlene Davila

Mako Fitts

Your paper should include:

a) a brief summary of the history or context of the artist who created the song.

(no more than 1-1.5 pages)

b) A brief summary of the song’s critical and audience reception
(no more than 1-1.5 pages)

c) Your own analysis of the song’s lyrics in terms of 1-4 above

(bulk of your paper 6-7 pages)

d) Brief analysis of an images relating to the song, either an album cover, a publicity image, or a music video. How does this extend/undermine/reinforce your reading of the lyrics? (approximately 2 pages)

e) Conclusion, summing up your points.


One Response to “Final Paper”

  1. Emily Sadler Says:

    The song I plan on analyzing is Jay-Z’s: “Money, Cash, Hoes.”

    Here’s a link to the lyrics:

    My Prospective Thesis:

    In Jay-Z’s rap song, “Money, Cash, Hoes,” a stereotypical view of the “rap life” and mistreatment of women run deep throughout the song. The lyrics talk of violence, sex and money, all stereotypical markers of what hip-hop and rap music typically rap about. Jay-Z’s song does not negate the stereotypical views of women and rap life, but reinforces and shows the lifestyle of a rap artist as a glamorous and luxurious one.

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