What seemed like an after-thought became a primary focus of the session. Although they were free to choose any of the selections, nearly all of the 11 students chose to produce audio compositions featuring Pongo's lyrics from a piece he did called "Mental Slavery." They added beats to his rapping.
I was fascinated that so many of the students were drawn to Pongo's verse and sound. Literary scholars say that poetry is rap, but relatively few poets deliver words the way rappers like Pongo do, and my students don't respond to literary poetry as strongly as they do to work classified as rap. There's certainly more to say on that.
For now, here's a clip of Pongo's original verse, acapella:
Here's a clip of Pongo again, this time with a beat by Just Blaze that one of the students, Jordan added:
• The East St. Louis Digital Humanities Club Spring 2019