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Globalization and Hip Hop


Over the summer of 2012 I was offered the chance to teach a course at UC Berkeley that involved "Globalization and Race."  It had been designed by Prof. Stephen Small so that it would fit the requirements of the American Cultures diversity requiremenet for undergraduates at Cal.  I wanted to update the course - even the term "Globalizaton" is more of a 90's term, but that was ok.  So I redesigned the course and called it PLANET ROCK: HIP HOP AND GLOBAL RESISTANCE CULTURES.  It had to be resubmitted for AC approval but I took care of that with the support of Victoria Robinson in the AC department.  


What resulted was a whirlwind course that treated the birth of Hip Hop in the black and Latino enclaves of New York City as a product of migration patterns associated with "Globalization."  The course makes connections with the Free South Africa Movement, the Zapatista, Hip Hop in Latin America, and winds up discussing the rise of Hip Hop in the Muslim world.  This offers a unique opportunity to explore the lifestyles of youth around the globe in present day, often through their own words, performing raps about their own experiences.


The course remains one of my favorites, and was offered for a third time at UC in the Spring of 2015.  I now teach it everywhere I work and it is never the same because Hip Hop is always evolving!





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In 2015 the one and only Chhoti Maa came to the class and discussed her multi-cutural background, and gave us a taste of her brilliant multi-lingual Hip Hop chops!  

Below is student activist Cindy Crystal Gonzalez with RV and Chhoti Maa.  Cindy introduced me to Chhoti Maa (Vreni Michellini is her birth name) and we have been good friends ever since.  

You can hear Chooti Maa on her many records here at, and on the RV CD!

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