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Hip Hop at T.C. Wiiliams

Hip-Hop Artist Engages T. C. Williams Students In Literature Workshop

Hip-Hop Artist Engages T. C. Williams Students In Literature Workshop

Who knew that hip-hop has a structure? About 200 students from T. C. Williams High School learned about common literary techniques used in hip-hop and historical literature like Shakespeare and The Great Gatsby.

On May 10, Words Liive came to T. C. Williams. Words Liive creator, Sage Salvo promised to relate their choice of music – what they have on their iPods – to various forms of literature. The students knew the music that was blaring from the speakers and they recognized the artists who wrote the lyrics or recorded the songs. But not many knew that the structure of hip-hop involves 48 bars per song, or three verses of 16 bars, for about 1,000 words per song. This structure is similar to Shakespeare’s works. Probably no one in the auditorium had ever related hip-hop to Shakespeare.

“Bringing Words Liive to T.C. Williams students is an excellent opportunity to teach literature and history by using a portal, through hip-hop, that students are familiar with,” said Words Liive founder Gilbert Perkins (artistically known as Sage Salvo). “There’s a large perception that hip-hop and education are at odds, or mutually exclusive. But if students have to study The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and I can show them how Jay-Z does the same thing, they might end up respecting Fitzgerald more.”

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