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Conscious hip hop: Lupe Fiasco’s critical teachings on raced and gendered representations

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This article examines the critical pedagogy of Lupe Fiasco’s music video ‘Bitch Bad’ (2012). Situating Fiasco’s work as an instance of hip hop teaching, we propose an analytic model to facilitate the interpretation of genre conventions evident in the multimodal music video text. We place genre theory into dialogue with critical discourse analysis in order to bring forward the ideologies, social values and cultural norms invoked in Fiasco’s portrayal of hip hop video actors and spectators. The analysis reveals Lupe Fiasco’s and videographer Gil Green’s critique of racist and misogynist stereotypes perpetuated in the music industry. Fiasco and Green present the hip hop performer as a labourer who is asked to portray specific conventions of gender, race and class. They explore the impact of the genre conventions upon children who grow up in the context of these cultural norms; they situate Fiasco as a cultural critic and teacher; and they demonstrate the potential of the music video to function as a pedagogical text.
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Keywords: class; discourse; gender; hip hop; multimodality; race

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Carleton University 2: University of Ottawa

Publication date: August 1, 2018

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  • The main aims of Journal of Popular Music Education, especially initially, will be iteratively to define the parameters of the field and disciplines of its readership and contributors (especially with regard to other journals in popular music and music education), this being an emerging field of scholarship and practice. The other principal aim will be to disseminate excellent critique and other forms of scholarship (e.g. phenomenological) in and related to the field. The journal will have an inclusive, global reach. 'Education' and 'popular music' are terms that we expect to be stretched and problematized through rigorous examination from multiple international perspectives.
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