beats · music · postwar

life is truly a mixtape


We did it. This week, the students enrolled in my “Bebop to Hip Hop: Music and Young America” course at the University of Alabama presented their beats.

This semester they were challenged to create a beat using software. We met at Gorgas Library several times.

IMG_9468.JPGAlong the way, they learned about the degree to which we have made progress while also unveiling room to grow in this postwar world.IMG_9478.JPG

Music helps narrate it all. Our time together truly reflects the progress.


This blog entry features some of the slides from their Powerpoints. The video features the same, but also some of the students during their presentations. If you want to see the beats of the students who agreed to share them, visit this page.IMG_9453.JPG

I am honored to have met these students. I was really touched by one of the students who said yesterday that they appreciated the time and energy that artists put into their work and that making a beat isn’t as easy as it looks. Or sounds. Ha!

I was also struck by how so many students initially mentioned Kanye West as an influence, but then one student thoughtfully pointed out how little MC’s who are women get credit for their work. I hear you. Such comments tell me the students are really thinking through what they already knew and what they learned this semester (Loved the shout out to rock and roll pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe). I had so much fun writing their exam and can’t wait to see their responses to the essay question they select.

IMG_9423.JPGMeanwhile, it’s the last time I am teaching this course so saying good bye to them and the lesson plans leaves me with mixed feelings. These are interesting times and care must be given to everything.


There’s so much through which to sort. I’ll be doing more of that in and outside the classroom in other contexts.

IMG_9414.JPGI can’t think of a better group to say farewell to this course than with these students.

Roll Tide!

PS Heading to Birmingham for Janet Jackson concert tomorrow. Can’t believe this snow. Hope the roads are not too messy.

So dreamy today.

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