Essay #1: Biography of a Hip-Hop Pioneer

Professor: M. Riviere
Email: //

A hip-hop pioneer is a person who was influential in the early development of hip-hop either as a DJ, MC, break-dancer, or graffiti artist. Select one person who is considered a hip-hop pioneer to further research their life history. Write a brief synopsis of how this person was influential in the development of hip-hop. Include relevant information such as family background, race, ethnicity, language, citizenship, class, and gender. Discuss what specific events or moments in this individual’s biography led to influential markers in hip-hop history. Consider in this summary, how individuals, as agents, directly influenced hip-hop as a social phenomenon.

Your argument in this paper is to demonstrate how the individual you selected was influential in the development of hip-hop and that they are a pioneer.

You may select a hip-hop pioneer from course readings, films, and lectures. If there is someone whom you would like to write about who is not in course readings, films, or lectures, please see me for approval. You may also select a hip-hop pioneer who stood in a role outside of the four elements such as a producer, journalist, scholar, activist or documentarian, however check with me prior to making your selection as I do not want you to deviate far from the already large pool of hip-hop pioneers within the four-element paradigm. For an individual to qualify as a hip-hop pioneer (for the purpose of this assignment) they must have initiated their career in hip-hop before 1985.

Papers should be 5-6 double-spaced pages, standard one-inch margins with full references/citations. You may use either APA or MLA citation styles (either footnotes, endnotes or within text citations) as long as you are consistent in your writing style.

DUE: Week #5
Essay Assignment #1 is worth 15% of your total class grade

BEST PIONEER BIOGRAPHICAL ESSAYS FROM ANTHROPOLOGY OF HIP HOP 2006-2009 (all students have authorized the publication of their essays, any reference to these works should be cited by author’s name, paper title, and Anthropology of Hip-Hop in a Global Perspective)

Biography of Richard Goldstein by Aron Marquette
Biography of Russell Simmons by Benjamin Winter
Biography of Lee Quiñonez by Chris Hirsch
Biography of Crazy Legs by Cassie Traun
Biography of Arabian Prince by Emma O’Brien
Biography of DJ Kool Herc by Madison Arkadie
Biography of DJ Kool Herc by Lauren Terp
Biography of GrandWizard Theodore by Matt Sindelar
Biography of CAP by Nick Hartman
Biography of Afrika Bambaataa by Rachel Peterson
Biography of Afrika Bambaataa by Dan Bettino
Biography of Henry Chalfant by Scott Artley
Biography of Henry Chalfant by Serri Graslie
Biography of KRS-One by Tina Eide
Biography of Chuck D by Sarah Robison
Biography of GrandMaster Flash by Rachel Reinfeld
Biography of Baby Love by Theresa Angelopoulos

*Assignment dates are non-negotiable with the exception of extraordinary circumstances such as a personal or family medical emergency (in which case official documentation to the effect must be provided).

Plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated. Plagiarism entails use of previously published or unpublished works not of our own authorship utilized without citation or reference to original work. Students found engaging in plagiarism will receive a grade of F in the course and will be reported to CLA. If you are unclear about the university’s definition of and policy on plagiarism, please consult the following website:


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