On Tuesday, February 15, I coordinated an exhibit on rap and slavery references. The exhibit was the outgrowth of an article "I Own My Own Masters": Rap Music and Slavery References," that I co-wrote with Jeremiah Carter on the subject.
Students took a look at various rap lyrics that referenced slavery, like this:
But remember - you're not a slaveAnd this:
Cause we was put here to be much more than that
But we couldn't see because our mind was trapped
But I'm here to break away the chains, take away the pains
Remake the brains, rebuild my name. —Rakim “Follow the Leader” (1988)
I hate gettin locked up
Cause that upstate bus reminds me of the slave ships. —M.A.R.S. “Clones” (1996)
I’ve been having visions of Nat Turner holding his master’s head
Like Yorick and Horatio in Hamlet
Smacking it like a tennis racket, underhanded
Send a message through the Gram: 'The Eagle has landed' –Black Thought
And all of these.
• Rap Music & Slavery References: A Partial List
• Spring 2018 programming