Avoiding the “Culture Vulture” Paradigm: Constructing an Ethical Hip-hop Curriculum

Felicia M. Miyakawa, Richard Mook


This paper maps the ethical challenges of Hip-hop pedagogy with the goal of fostering a broader, self-reflexive discourse among academics who teach about rap music and hip-hop culture. We will argue that the exclusive application of established pedagogical approaches of musicology, music theory, and even ethnomusicology would be ethically inappropriate, and would de-legitimize university hip-hop courses in the eyes of those who originated and are deeply invested in this culture. We advocate, instead, for three practices not often found in music history courses: embeddedness in local community, engagement in creative praxis; and the incorporation of established, “old-school” perspectives.


Hip-hop; pedagogy; b-boy; DJ; MC; creative praxis

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ISSN 2155-109X