Most of us have seen a syllabus at least once in our lives. That massive stack of papers takes up a class period or two. Usually, they’re boring, mind-numbing, and uneventful. I wanted to make one a little more fun. Have at it.
Instructor: Timothy Becker, feel free to reach at firstname.lastname@example.org
Through the lens of historical, sociological, psychological, philosophical, and media-logical what can be called sad boy rap, or emo rap will be examined and understood. The type of rap that we will be discussing is still relatively new in the zeitgeist, highlighted by vulnerable lyrics and subdued beats. The music itself is characterized by newer forms of masculinity and vulnerability in its artists. Some rappers that will be highlighted are Kanye West, Mac Miller, Lil Peep, Kid Cudi, among others.
Critical Course Objectives:
These are the overt goals that we will work toward in this course.
- Context: The first important topic is going to be the context of the music that we’ll be covering and what started its growth in the cultural sphere, as well as the historical origin and growth of hip hop as a whole.
- Purpose: Why did sad rap find a place in the zeitgeist and what purpose does it serve for the listener and the artist? How does this music shape masculinity?
- Analysis: What cultural shifts led the way to this type of music and its popularity? Was it something that was inevitable?
- Identification and Classification: Identifying the uniting elements of sad rap and what acted as springboards for it, as well as classifying those elements in a philosophical frame.
- Framing: Framing this movement in music and the different social frames it fits into. For example the sociological, philosophical, and psychological aspects in the music and general societal movements around it.
- Framing Modern Masculinity: The idea of sad boy rap generally revolves around men leaving themselves vulnerable and open to audiences, something that, historically, isn’t incredibly masculine. How has this music given pathways to evolving masculinity?
By the end of this course, the student will be able to:
- Display their understanding of the elements that make up the sad rap movement and its progenitors.
- Display proficiency with philosophical concepts as it relates to masculinity and music.
- Display understanding in regards to the origin of hip hop and its evolutions and subsets, including sad boy rap.
- Examine art through a philosophical lens, primarily when analyzing masculinity and human existence.
- Understand the place that sad rap holds in the present and the potential growth that it presents.
- Playlist Construction: A few weeks in you should have a simple grasp of what can constitute this style of rap so I’d like to see you create a playlist of some sad rap. The playlist should be around 10 songs, and if you have an app like Spotify to share the playlist that would be perfect.
- Song Analysis: Two weeks after finishing your playlist I’d like to see you take THREE songs from your playlist and write a four-paragraph analysis of each.
Week 1- (808s and Heartbreak, the Origin of Sad Rap)
- Rise of the Sad Boys (Specifically the part on Hip Hop)
- Doing Hip Hop Masculinity Different
- How Rap Saves Lives
Week 2- (Kid Cudi and the Evolving Man)
- Kid Cudi’s Ted Talk
- Men in the Middle: Searching for Masculinity in the 1950s
- Kid Cudi Started an Important Conversation About Rap and Mental Health
Week 3- (Sad Hip Hop and the Influence of Sound Cloud and Gangster Rap)
Week 4- (Challenging Masculinity and Rap)
- Toxic Masculinity pitfalls
- Ten Responses to the Phrase Man Up
- Lil Peep and the Ways He pushes the envelope
- “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful”
Week 5- (Drug Abuse in Modern Rappers)
- “Meditate, Don’t Medicate!”
- Juice WRLD, Lil Peep and XXXTentacion are symbols of a scene that trades off tragedy
- KOD and Drug Culture in Hip Hop
Week 6- (Into the Artists)
This week will be heavy on song analysis and artist dives. Pick any three of the following sources to watch, read through, or otherwise.
- An Analysis of Tyler the Creator’s Garden Shed
- Lil Peep: Everybody’s Everything (Find on Netflix)
- Circles by Mac Miller Album Review
- The Beautiful Vulnerability of Juice WRLD
- Sad Boi Culture with Joji
- Emo Rap Emergence
Week 7- (What caused the emergence of sad rap?)
- Rising Suicide and Overdose Rates
- Saddening Music in Pop and other genres
- Who’s Listening to Sad Music?
Week 8- (The Future of Emo Rap)