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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Journal Entry #9

Beatboxing is a vocal percussion that is a part of hip hop but can be applied to any genre of music. Apparently it is inspired by jazz scatting and is considered an instrument alike. According to a brief history of beatboxing from a site about BeatBoxing Day, it states that modern beatboxing started by New York artists including Doug E. Fresh and Darren Robinson. I've had the pleasure to watch Rahzel from The Roots beatbox, and his range of noises and sounds were unbelievable. I have tried to learn how to beatbox through friends. The first three sounds that people learn are the bass, snare and hi hat. These sounds reference the main components of a drum kit and can be arranged in so many different combinations.

This is a freestyle beatboxing video of Canada's top beatboxer, Scott Jackson. I've witnessed him beatbox numerous times through events and working alongside him. He can go on forever and really knows how to hype a crowd. I think beatboxing is probably the most accessible hip hop element because it doesn't require money or space to do it. Beatboxing can travel with you wherever you go and is a way of expression through sound.

Journal Entry #8

This entry will focus on the adaption of breaking in theatre. An article titled "From street to stage" by Luke Jessop promotes a production involving breaking called "Breakin' Convention". It states that only bboying maintained its integrity out of the other elements of hip-hop. The following are two quotes from the article that addressed an interesting statement about hip-hop and breaking in theatre.

"Bboying's significant theatre presence is down to strong-minded individuals who understand that the dance form does not have to remain a competitive street art."

"The present-day hip hop theatre scene is rich with creative and innovative work..."

In regards to the first quote, it states that bboying doesn't always have to be competitive. However, breaking started through its competitive nature. I think that by putting breaking into another context, it strips some of its originating qualities. It is important to understand this because as breaking is introduced to a different scene, I think it loses its authenticity in relation to hip hop culture. Also, the article says that the hip hop theatre scene is creative and innovative. This is probably because it is still a new dance that requires acceptance to be showcased in a production like "Breakin' Convention". Breaking is creative and innovative on its own, but I just think that productions that require choreography and rehearsals takes away from freestyling the art form.

Journal Entry #7

Our design environment takes inspiration from hip-hop because it is now perceived as an accepted culture in society. Design takes influence from the movement in breaking, to graffiti art to the beats and lyrics in the music. I think hip hop's role in design is to expose the culture and to bring awareness to its positive impact and message.

I would create illustrations and comics influenced by hip-hop because it is an easy, quick and visual way to grab people's attention. Comics are a fun way to illustrate storytelling through hip-hop narratives and themes. It would be especially interesting to fuse hip-hop with another culture, much like the anime Samurai Champloo fuses samurai and Japanese culture with hip-hop. For example, I could make zines of cats or old people in hip hop culture.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Journal Entry #6

Hip-hop started as an alternative to violence and gangs, as well as a way to have fun through parties. I would use breaking to teach students about social justice issues because it started as an alternative for gangs and violence. Breaking is an art form that allows people to express their stress through a positive outlet. Additionally, it promotes a healthy lifestyle because it is physically demanding. Most importantly, it immerses people into the welcoming and supportive community of hip-hop. Breaking is an accessible art form that anyone can participate in, creating bonds with people that you may not particularly associate yourself with in you everyday life. Through breaking, I’ve gained friendships with people of different ages, cultures, religions and stories. Therefore, I believe it is an art form that anyone can relate to and express themselves with.

Journal Entry #5

Conduct some research on Indigenous hip-hop artists (they can be from anywhere geographically). Choose 2 songs and discuss the content of the lyrics and elements that make the songs original. What did you learn about Indigenous culture? Why is this important? Include the video links, with the artist’s name, song title and country of origin.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Journal #4

This SportCheck ad from 2015 is illustrating a scene about basketball in Toronto neighbourhoods. I think the design of this poster takes influence from hip-hop through the stylized black and white imagery. It is reminiscent of graffiti paste-ups, which are printed images that would be pasted directly onto a wall for quick and efficient application of their art.

These are some examples of paste ups on the street. They are mostly in black and white because I assume it was cheaper to print which led to its aesthetic. Whether it was intentional or not, the illustration in the poster is similar to the aesthetics of these paste ups.

Also, the subject matter plays a role in its hip-hop aesthetic because basketball is a sport many associate hip-hop to, especially in Toronto. Drake put Toronto on the map with his branding, such as referring to it as the “6” and through his support for the Raptors. This is where the saying “We the north” came from.  The type of the “my north” hash tag on the poster references graffiti tags from its handwritten and gestural quality. Also, the neighbourhood illustrated takes place on streets, which is where hip-hop originated.
An example of a graffiti tag usually of the artist's name. 

Journal #3

Chance the Rapper recently released his latest album Coloring Book on May 12, 2016. This album has 13 songs featuring numerous artists such as Kanye, Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber and Future. Chance decided to release this mix tape for free, making it his third solo album. This album fuses hip-hop with jazz, soul and R&B, creating diverse sounds that flow from one track to the next. Overall, the songs are pretty upbeat and rhythmic. Each song has a different fusion with hip hop, some I favour more than others. The album begins with the song “All We Got” featuring Kanye and Chicago Children’s Choir. The back up vocals from the choir reoccurs throughout the album, especially in the songs “Blessings”, “Smoke Break” and “How Great”. I was surprised to hear “How Great” for the first time because the intro was a song that I sing at my church choir. Saying this, there is great influence of positivity and belief in a higher power in this album. The name of the mixtape, “Coloring Book” also describes its playful and mixed nature. It’s playful and mixed in a sense that it includes the contrast of traditional and digital sounds. Also, after listening to it multiple times, I’ve always felt uplifted and motivated. I would recommend this album to anyone who is open and willing to listen to new music. Each track has its own unique qualities making them all sound different. I think Chance made this mixtape to explore different colours that would work together to create a collection of vibrant pictures, Coloring Book.