Samples from Jeff Rice’s “The 1963 Hip-Hop Machine: Hip-Hop Pedagogy As Composition”

  • What I want to add to Baker’s pedagogy, however, is an examination of the way hip-hop constructs discourse, the way it produces rhetorical meaning through it’s complex method of digital sampling, and how such rhetoric functions within the scope of argumentation. (454)
  • In hip-hop, the “take whatever you find and use it” principle acts as the dominant force in sampling. . . . Through the complex juxtaposition of these isolated sounds, samplers construct new forms of meaning.  (454)
  • Ideas take shape out of the restless culture surrounding writings; in other words, discourse emerges from the cultural odds and ends we assemble.  Hip-hop teaches that cultural research and awareness produce composite forms of writing. (455)
  • The whatever challenges conventional reading practices by cutting a detail from its original source and recontextualizing it within a different setting.  Barthes’s purpose is to use the detail as a way to critique cultural practices. (456)
  • In contemporary digital culture. elusive meanings abound as the electronic tools of expression rapidly alter discourse in general. Print culture’s linear, nonassociative methods of reasoning break down in an electronic realm where cutting and pasting guide communication. (456)
  • I introduce the model of digital sampling and hip-hop in order to rethink the argumentative essay. This model asks: how does one account for the ways isolated details prompt analytical gestures? Can one construct critique           from a series of unrelated details? Can there be such a thing as a “whatever writing practice?”
  • For Barthes, the whatever (or punctum) is the isolated detail recontextualized.  In digital sampling, the whatever offers an alternative research methodology for composition – the accumulation and appropriation of citations recontextualized into a new work. (458)
  • In order to convert this material into a composition, I sample these cut-and-pasted moments into a hypothetical writing machine, a pedagogical digital sampler. . . . The pedagogical sampler, with a computer or without a computer, allows cultural criticism to save isolated moments and then juxtapose them as a final product. (464-5)
  • Just as DJs often search for breaks and cuts in the music that reveal patterns, so, too, does the student writer look for a pattern as a way to unite these moments into a new alternative argument and critique. (465)
  • If hip-hop pedagogy seeks to confront power relations, it must alter the ways discourse is formed by student writers (and, hopefully, instructors as well).  In this way, hip-hop pedagogy performs an extremist act by arguing that the “reality” of academic writing (the linear structure of thesis, support, conclusion) is in fact an ideological formation that can and should be challenged through the sample.  Hip-hop pedagogy, therefore, borrows the student confrontational response to the traditional writing assignment by saying out loud, “whaever.” (466-7)
  • I propose hip-hop pedagogy as the place to begin such questioning regarding our ability to resist dominant modes of thinking, to engage with consumerism while working against it, to spark the resistance, whatever. (469)

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