This lesson centers around teaching rap as a means of generating unique poetry! By the end of this mini unit students should have analyzed rap for poetic devices and meaning, composed their own rap songs, and recorded a reading using Audacity.


Step One: To generate interest, have students watch the short introductory video "Tracing Rap's Lyrical Journey"

Step Two: Review key literary terms students will use when analyzing the lyrics for meaning. Alliteration, Metaphor, Simile, Imagery, Dialogue, Emotive Language, Repetition, Onomatopoeia, internal rhyme, end rhyme, theme or meaning.

Step Three: Look at/listen to a selection of the rap songs. Each was selected for its cultural significance and/or strong use of figurative language. Depending on time, choose a few or complete them all. Have students first read/listen for overall meaning (theme). What is the artist saying about life/history/society/culture? After students discuss the song as it relates to the artist and/or the world, look at key features in the songs. Be advised the lyrics are not censored! You can censor the lyrics yourself and/or download censored version for younger age level. Or, just use selections without curse words.



Step Four: Examine how an artist takes a public issue and turns it into a song. Read the short "why vote for obama" paragraph and then look at the lyrics. Ask students: how did Will.i.Am take a political issue and generate a song? What is his overall purpose for writing the song (message)? What figurative/artistic devices does he use (it is especially helpful to show the video here to help provide examples)?


Step Five: Go over "how to write a rap song" and focus on getting students to pick a personal, historical, social, or cultural issue first. Then, students should create their chorus. Finally, think about "stanzas" as descriptive paragraphs. Students should use imagery, metaphors, similes, etc to develop/explain the story of their rap. Allow a significant amount of time for students to draft their songs (45-60m).

Step Six: Using Audacity (students will need headphones with a microphone), allow students time to record a singing or reading of their rap songs. Also, students may want to use appropriate image resources to find pictures to accompany their songs. Teachers should help students save their work (export as an MP3) and images to a particular folder for easy access.
Media Resources:**

Step Seven: To publish, teachers can either upload to Voicethread or allow students time to upload their own images and recordings. You may also want to give students time to listen to their classmates' recordings and leave comments. Consider teaching how to have a successful digital conversation, comment starters.

Song Title:
Key Features:
Lyrics:
Video:
Coolio-
Gangsta's Paradise
metaphor, allusion,
meaning


Notorious BIG-
Sky's the Limit
alternate speaker, rhyme,
message


Public Enemy-
Shut Em Down
rhyme, repetition, meaning,
metaphor


Pharcyde-
Runnin
Different Style (more
narrative), different speakers,


Public Enemy-
Fight the Power
repetition, symbol,
metaphor


TLC-
Waterfalls
Imagery, metaphor,
symbols


2Pac-
So Many Tears
Symbol, internal rhyme,
meaning


Run DMC-
Proud to be Black
Simile, historical reference,
onomatopoeia


Notorious BIG-
Juicy
metaphor, imagery,
simile, rhyme, cultural
references


Eminem-
Stan
alternative speakers,
dialogue, emotive language,
tone, imagery, metaphor,
persona, cultural reference


Eve-
Love is Blind
social/cultural significance,
metaphor, progression
of narrative


Kanye West-
All Falls Down
meaning, simile, metaphor
(American Dream), social
reference


Lupe Fiasco-
Hip Hop Saved Me
Different style (internal dialogue)
metaphors, repetition