The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


"The Message": The Birth of Hip Hop Culture

Suggested Grade Level: 5-8 / 9-12

In the early 1970s the Bronx borough of New York City was home to the beginning of hip-hop culture.  This class examines how young people responded to the social and economic crisis of the Bronx by creating hip-hop.  By the 1980s, rap recordings took the voices of inner-city life into the mainstream, spreading it around the United States.  Since then, parts of hip-hop culture - including the MC, the DJ, the graffiti writer and the break dancer – have become some of the most important forms of expression for young people on the planet.  In this class, students will learn about this history, along with the musical tracks and vocal raps of “old school” artists such as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa, the Treacherous Three, the Funky Four Plus One and Run-D.M.C. – musicians who sent a message to American audiences about what life was like in inner-city communities.  Explore the history of the sound that changed American popular music forever.


Related Standards:  English-Language Arts, Social Studies, Fine Arts-Music

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Videos are offered as supplemental content to classes.

The Rock Hall interviews DJ Funkmaster Flex, now famous as the host of MTV's "Funk Flex Full Throttle", about being a DJ in the Bronx in the '80s and the emergence of hip-hop culture.

See below for additional video resources related to this class.

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Click here for teacher research guides related to this class.

 

Selected Song List

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Class Resources

Students will learn about turntable technology.

Registering for this Class

Complete this form online using the link below, or download and complete the appropriate registration form (listed below) and fax it back to 216.515.1995. A group sales representative will contact you to confirm a date. If a representative does not contact you within 5 business days, please call the Group Sales Department at 216.515.1228.

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Additional Resources

Photo Galleries




We had a fabulous time! The kids were amazed at how many floors there were, and we loved the videos that were throughout the Hall of Fame. Stephanie Heriger was also great in assisting me with questions and concerns that I had. She’s a great asset to your company! The people that were working that day were also very helpful. It was nice to have people right there if you had any questions. Everything went very smoothly and we appreciate the Rockin’ The Schools program and look forward to being invited to come back!
- Nancy Cosner, Watterson-Lake (Cleveland Metropolitan School District)
The Education Department is already doing a stellar job! I am always impressed with their knowledge and professionalism, as well as their great sense of fun! I love what they’ve been doing with the website. It has really become a great resource/teaching tool.
- Carey Perkins, St. Charles
This is the fourth time I’ve brought my class to [‘The Message’]. I always choose this program because I know my students will enjoy it and take something away from it!
- Michele Reighley, Empire Computech