Major Project 1

Updated: Apr 12

Project's theme ideas:

  • HipHop Music Artists (modern/old school)

  • Basketball (NBA)

Question Ideas:

  • How has Hip-Hop influenced graphic design today?

  • Hip-Hop marketing history

  • Hip-Hop Artists with a message- How they portray that message

  • What factors influence the design on NBA jerseys

  • Music artists album covers

  • NBA website

  • How can visual communication influence people's thoughts on an album cover?

  • How can visual communication on an album cover inform people of the contents etc?

Hip-Hop Artists with a message- How they portray that message

Political Rap through history

Context on what's happening at the time

Album Covers


Clothing designs

Social Media posts

Magazine Covers/ Spreads

Wikipedia Political Hip-Hop: "In hip hop music, political hip hop, or political rap, is a form developed in the 1980s, inspired by 1970s political preachers such as The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron. Public Enemy were the first political hip hop group to gain commercial success.[1]Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released the first socio-political rap song in 1982, named The Message, which inspired many rappers to address social and political topics."-


Tupac Shakur

Kanye West

Public Enemy

A Tribe Called Quest


Kendrick Lamar

Lil Wayne

Joey Bada$$



Gil Scott Heron

Childish Gambino

Run the Jewels

Black Panthers

Louis Theroux programme

Music Videos

East Coast Vs West Coast

Rodney King Riots

Albums that reflect the politics of race:

Primary research:

Surveys (Surveymonkey)


Design studio/Gallery

Reddit/Social Media

Secondary research:

Books and Magazines

Online articles

TV Programmes or BBC Sounds


"Pulse of the People: Political Rap Music and Black Politics"- Lakeyta M. Bonnette-Bailey

The Birth of Hip-Hop

The roots of rapping

Thousands of years ago in Africa “griots”, where village story tellers who played basic handmade instruments while they told stories of their family and local current events. This style of talking while music is playing is rap music as we know it at its root form. The griot is still a major form of communication in Africa still to this day.

This griot tradition carried over when Africans were captured against their will, transported to America & forced into slavery. One way they would cope with the tremendous amount of pain & heartbreak of slavery would be to sing. While they were working in the fields they would often sing using “call to answer”. One leader would call out a certain part of a song and the rest of the slaves would answer with the next line. In modern times performing artists call this emceeing or crowd participation.

DJ Kool Herc

On August 11, 1973 in the Bronx, New York history was about to be made. DJ Kool Herc (now known as the first DJ & founding father of hip hop) & his sister Cindy began hosting back to school parties in the recreation room of their building. It was these gatherings that would spark the beginning of a new culture we know today as Hip-Hop. One night during DJ Kool Herc’s set he tried something new he called “merry go round”. He used two turntables playing the same break beat section of the James Brown record “clap your hands”. When one turntable would finish playing the section he would switch to the other turntable and play the same section. This allowed him to extend that section of the song as long as he wanted. This technique is now referenced to as looping and is used by record producers in almost every beat.

As DJ Kool Herc continued to do more parties he realized that speaking on the mic was just as important to keeping a party live as DJing was. In order to keep up with the demands of the crowd he reached out to his good friend Coke La Rock to be the first dedicated MC of these parties. During one of these parties Coke La Rock spit his very first bar, ” There’s not a man that can’t be thrown, not a horse that can’t be rode, a bull that can’t be stopped, there’s not a disco that I Coke La Rock can’t rock”. This one bar made Coke La Rock the very first rapper in Hip-Hop and birthed a new genre of music we know today as Rap music.

What record companies thought was just a fad rapidly grew into the most popular music genre of this decade. Rap music’s beginnings were humble and focused on bringing families together and uplifting each other’s spirits in times of heartache and pain.

Kool Herc discovered a way to emphasise the "break" (the part of a record where the kick drum is most prominent) to get inner-city kids on the dance floor at his parties, and used this point to mix one song with another, with the help of two turntables. Throw in his "rapping" – rhythmic announcements that later became the sole job of the master of ceremony, or MC – and you have the revolutionary birth of hip-hop music.

Over the years, DJs such as Grand Wizard Theodore and Grandmaster Flash developed further techniques, their particular contribution being to popularise "scratching". Alongside the music, a new form of street dance emerged. Encouraged by the DJs' breakbeats, young "breakdancing". In 1984, a film called Beat Street hit cinemas across the US, earnt a screening at Cannes, and made groups such as the New York City Breakers and Rock Steady Crew household names.

Graffiti writers also found themselves crossing over into the subculture. It was the rebellious nature of the music that resonated with these artists, as many took to graffiti as an act of social protest. Jean-Michel Basquiat was at the forefront of the movement, famously spraying his tag SAMO© across New York City.

These four key elements, DJing, MCing, breakdancing and graffiti, had merged to become the four pillars of hip-hop.

  • Deejaying: making music using record players, turntables, and DJ mixers

  • Rapping: rhythmic vocal rhyming style

  • Graffiti painting: also known as “graf” or “writing”

  • Break dancing: a form of dance that also encompasses an overall attitude and style

Where Public Enemy highlighted criminality in their neighbourhood, the likes of Ice-T, NWA and later Snoop Dogg and Tupac were to glorify it.

Conscious Rap

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, chart-topping rap songs were more likely to have political messages, a Capital News Service analysis of 30 years of Billboard chart data and lyrics found. By the early 2000s, themes of black power and police brutality had vanished in favor of apolitical references to partying, cars and girls, at least at the very top of the charts.

But, the analysis found, politically conscious rap is once again finding a place on the top of the charts, driven by the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement, the #metoo movement and opposition to Donald Trump.

Themes of police brutality were significantly higher in the late 1980s and early 1990s, driven by the popularity of songs like N.W.A.’s “F--- the Police”, released in 1988, and the 1991 Los Angeles riots that followed the brutal beating of Rodney King by three police officers.

In the late 90's and 2000's major labels signed more artists, but record companies didn’t think political songs would resonate with a large audience. So they pushed the feel-good, party songs that rose to the top of the “Hot Rap Songs” charts during that era.

Artists who rap about their money are still making a political statement. For most mainstream audiences they think of that as like ‘ah they’re flaunting cash and being really superficial’ but for certain communities where that wealth is inaccessible it’s like ‘ah man somebody made it out of here that means we could do it too. In Jay-Z’s ode to New York City, “Empire State of Mind,” he raps “eight million stories, out there in it naked, city is a pity, half of yall won’t make it.” The rap mogul recognizes many people live and die poor.

The amount of political content at the top of the charts in the last two years — 25 percent of songs in 2017 and 2018 — appears to be a direct response to the rise of social movements like Black Lives Matter and the political climate surrounding the Trump administration and policies frequently viewed as overtly racist by some artists.


Fight The Power- The Politics Of Hip-Hop:

"Hip-hop as a genre can be traced back to militant spoken-word groups such as The Last Poets and The Watts Prophets; just as they reflected the realities of their surroundings, modern day hip-hop would deliver its own missives from the frontline, becoming, as Public Enemy frontman Chuck D put it, “black America’s CNN”."

The Last Poets

"The Last Poets are several groups of poets and musicians who arose from the late 1960s African-American civil rights movement's black nationalism."

"Having reached USTop 10chart success with its debut album, the Last Poets went on to release the follow-up, This Is Madness, without then-incarcerated Abiodun Oyewole. The album featured more politically charged poetry that resulted in the group being listed under the counter-intelligence program COINTELPRO during the Richard Nixon administration."

"Starting a poem with the word ‘’America is a terrorist’’ and then riffing on everyone from Jack Johnson, Trayvon Martin, the Black Panthers, and the government approved groups that killed those individuals and groups. With their influence on seminal groups and artists such as A Tribe Called Quest and Common, the Last Poets’ name will ring out until the end of time."

"If Gil-Scott Heron is the most popular artist in the spoken word genre, the Last Poets are the originators. They brought listeners and readers to church every time a new poem came out. It makes Harlem — a mecca of black art, righteous black indignation, and a pillar of black worship"

Umar- "So we’re older now, we’re much wiser now. But we’re still throwing down messages about why, and why can’t other human beings be able to know each other, to relate to each other, to help each other because of race, religion, color, or whatever."

Abiodun- "America profits off of black people spiritually, physically and socially."

"Black folks are poetic and all we have to do is people who are artistically reflections of their poetry is to take the poetry that we’ve already produced and capture it in whatever form of art that we use and give it right back to the folks and give them their stand. If we had certain songs that always resonate our particular situation, our politics, our social status and so forth."

"Study, research, learn how beautiful we really are, how magnificent we are, how we have survived in situations that simply seemed impossible and express that in our work. It will make a difference in the way we act."

Abiodun on Gil Scott- "They would confuse my poem with his poem. I wrote, “When the revolution comes some of us will probably catch it on TV with chicken hanging from our mouths.” Gil heard that and he took it to another level and he said, “The revolution will not be televised.”

Gil did not bite off of my poem. We stand on the shoulders of each other. I wrote a poem that said when the revolution comes some of us will probably catch it on TV with a chicken hanging from our mouths. You’ll know it’s a revolution because there won’t be no commercials. Gil heard that and he was impressed by it but he graduated that poem. He took that poem out of high school and put it in college by simply saying, “It won’t be televised.”"

"Understanding what black is"- Lyrics

Understand what Black is

The source from which all things come

The security blanket for the stars

Understand what Black is

It is not a color

It is the bases of all colors

It is not a complexion

It is a reflection

Of all complexions called human

And out of this Blackness

Passion flows like a river

Feelings tell the truth

Song and dance

And making you laugh

Are family members

Understand what Black is

The breath you breathe

The sweat on your brow

The cheers and the tears

Balancing the world on your head

Faith is the glue

That holds us all together

This is your Blackness

Not some horror story

Of lost souls drifting

Into the land of perversion

Blackness is love

Is a light shinning on a path

Leading to the Sun

Or caressed in the bosom of the moon

Understand what Black is

Power you must yield to

A force so strong

We try to sleep it away

A jolt to your circuits

That say you must be electric

And plugged in to the sockets of the world

Black is humanity

That beautiful chord

On a twelve string guitar

That makes you smile

That offers comfort

In turbulent times

Provides food

When there's nothing to eat

A shelter when there's no where to live

Black is humanity

Making hope stand tall and not wilt

Because Black knows

Did it before

Tested by fire

Washed in the waters of life

Black is hot

Black is cool

Black is wise

And could never be a fool

Understand what Black is

Black is a hero not a villain

Black is the essence

Sealed with a kiss

Black is the stone

We build our dreams on

A shadow at evening's mist

Bigger than reality

Blending into the night

To let the Sun chill

And watch the stars dance

In rhythm to the music in our souls

Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron is frequently called the “godfather of rap,” which is an epithet he doesn’t really care for. In 1968, when he was nineteen, he wrote a satirical spoken-word piece called “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”

"The epithet “godfather of rap”—derived from the claim that Scott-Heron originated the form"

Bill Adler, the hip-hop critic, curator, and record executive on Gil and The Last Poets- “It was like a park jam that got onto a record. Nothing but beats and rhythms. They embodied a revolutionary idea of black manhood, and Gil likewise. He wasn’t as potent as they were—he was more musical—but at the very beginning you can think of Gil Scott-Heron as a one-man Last Poets. People often confused the two, or thought that he was a member of them.”

Gil on the meaning of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised- "The first change that takes place is in your mind. You have to change your mind before you change the way you live and the way you move. So when we said that the revolution will not be televised, we’re saying that the thing that’s going to change people is something that no one will ever be able to capture on film. It’ll just be something you see and all of a sudden you realize, I’m on the wrong page, or I’m on the right page but I’m on the wrong note."

Chuck D (Public Enemy)- "Scott-Heron and the Last Poets are not only important; they’re necessary, because they are the roots of rap—taking a word and juxtaposing it into some sort of music."

"Scott-Heron's influence over hip hop is primarily exemplified by his definitive single "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised", sentiments from which have been explored by various rappers, including Aesop Rock, Talib Kweli and Common."

"Kanye West sampled Scott-Heron and Jackson's "Home is Where the Hatred Is" and "We Almost Lost Detroit" for the songs "My Way Home" and "The People", respectively, both of which are collaborative efforts with Common.[78] Scott-Heron, in turn, acknowledged West's contributions, sampling the latter's 2007 single "Flashing Lights" on his final album, 2010's I'm New Here."

Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was an American hip hop group formed in the South Bronx of New York City in 1978. The group's use of turntablism, breakbeat DJing, and conscious lyricism were significant in the early development of hip hop music.

In the late 1970s, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five built their reputation and achieved local success by performing at parties and live shows. By 1980, the group had signed with Sugar Hill Records. It was not until the release of the song "The Message" in 1982 and the album of the same name that they achieved mainstream success. The song provided a political and social commentary and went on to become a driving force behind conscious hip-hop.

“The Message” – a track that with its chilling social commentary changed Hip Hop forever, retooling its image as good-time “party music” and helping usher in the age of the hardcore MC. It was a grim portrait of ghetto life with the refrain “It’s like a jungle sometimes/It makes me wonder/How I keep from going under”

They have influenced many musical acts such as New Order,[22]The Cold Crush Brothers, Run-D.M.C., Whodini, Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, KRS-One, EPMD, Stetsasonic, Doug E. Fresh, Salt-n-Pepa, Ultramagnetic MC's, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Eminem, Pharoahe Monch, Busta Rhymes, DJ Quik, Beastie Boys, Hieroglyphics, Too Short, Wu-Tang Clan, Digital Underground, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., N.W.A, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Heavy D, and The Roots, among many others.


The Rapper on the record, Melle Mel, paints a picture with a simple and catchy chorus:

Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge. I'm trying not to lose my head. It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under. It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.

He lets people know that he is at his tipping point. Any interference by anyone can cause him to go over his limit. He also does not know how he stays sane when he feels trapped and sees all of the dangers around him.

He is describing what it is like to live in a housing project. He sees disgusting vermin and smells urine. He knows that he can’t escape all of this unless he has money. As the records goes on, Melle Mel continues to tell various stories. Some examples are a woman becoming a prostitute, the result of not being able to get to work, and a boy who falls between the cracks. He created a sense of what it was like in the eighties. The record became timeless because people who live in the low-income neighborhoods today can relate.

Childish Gambino "This Is America"


"Donald Glover made a brilliant artistic statement about gun violence and racism in America with the video for this song, featuring Glover dancing through an escalating riot. The video offers layers of meaning to peel back and explore: Is the choreography intended to distract from the violence? Does Glover gun down the gospel choir as they sing “get your money black man” as a way of protesting the stereotypical black performance role he has taken on to earn money? It’s a visual feast meant to be picked clean to the bone."

Breaking the symbolism down in the video

"The central message is about guns and violence in America and the fact that we deal with them and consume them as part of entertainment on one hand, and on the other hand, is a part of our national conversation"

Grey Trousers- Humanness

"Childish Gambino/Glover‘s decision to wear just a pair of gray pants without a shirt in the video, allows viewers to identify with “his humanness,” as he raps about the violent contradictions that come with being black in America"

"Gambino dances in neutral colored pants, dark skin and with textured hair. “It’s just him, and therefore, it could be us."

The Gunshot Transition

This is the "song’s move from choral tones to a trap sound — allows Gambino to straddle contradictions"

“He’s talking about the contradictions of trying to get money, the idea of being a black man in America,”

“It comes out of two different sound worlds. Part of the brilliance of the presentation is that you go from this happy major mode of choral singing that we associate with South African choral singing, and then after the first gunshot it moves right into the trap sound."

Dancing with school-children amid violence

"The dancers could be there to distract viewers in the same way black art is used to distract people from real problems plaguing America."

"Even though we think of popular culture a space where we escape, he’s forcing us to understand that there’s actually nowhere to run"

"We have to deal with the cultural violence that we have created and continue to sustain."

"It’s really a commentary on how much violence and contradictions there are in the consuming of pop culture, particularly in the violent elements of it, with all the conspicuous consumption that global capitalism inspires, part of what we are consuming is this appetite for violence.”

Gunned Down Choir

"The massacre and its quickness recall the 2015 Charleston shooting in which white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine black people in a church basement"

"As we consume violence on all sorts of platforms, be it in the news, through music videos or television shows, it becomes difficult to absorb very real instances of mass murders."

Running Away

"Young Thug sings “You just a Black man in this world / You just a barcode, ayy.” Gambino’s sprint goes back to a long tradition of black Americans having to run to save their lives"

"A black person running for his or her life has just been a part of American culture dating back to slavery"

Public Enemy

Public Enemy included rapper Chuck D, rapper/hype man Flavor Flav and featured Professor Griff who managed and choreographed their backup dancers.

"Public Enemy revolutionized hip-hop, expanding the music's sonic vocabulary while raising the stakes for its social impact. Chuck D, the group's leader and conceptualist, claimed at their peak that "rap music is the invisible TV station that black America never had" and he ensured that Public Enemy addressed the concerns of black America, picking up a thread left hanging by the radical soul and funk of the late 1960s and early '70s."

During hip-hop's golden age of the late '80s and '90s, the band was at the music's center, earning acclaim and controversy nearly in equal measure.

Chuck D (born Carlton Ridenhour, August 1, 1960) formed Public Enemy in 1982, when he was studying graphic design at Adelphi University on Long Island. He met Hank Shocklee and Bill Stephney. All three shared a love of hip-hop and politics, which made them close friends.

As Public Enemy's profile was raised, they opened themselves up to controversy. In a notorious statement, Chuck D claimed that rap was "the black CNN," relating what was happening in the inner city in a way that mainstream media could not project.

Public Enemy garnered some headlines in early 2020 when Chuck D announced he'd parted ways with Flavor Flav over the former's decision to play at a March rally for Bernie Sanders during the Democratic Party primary as Public Enemy Radio.

Fight The Power

"Fight the Power," Public Enemy's theme for Spike Lee's controversial 1989 film Do the Right Thing, also caused an uproar for its attacks on Elvis Presley and John Wayne.

1980s New York, that was a volatile decade for the city, with high-profile cases of African-Americans dying at the hands of racist mobs (Michael Griffith, Willie Turks) and police officers (Eleanor Bumpurs, Michael Stewart), all of which were on director Spike Lee’s mind when he wrote his third movie, Do the Right Thing. Both Lee’s movie and Public Enemy’s song were designed to wake people up.

Lee knew that his of-the-moment movie needed a song that was defiant, angry and rhythmic, which made Public Enemy the obvious choice. No group had ever had so much to say, with so much urgency.

Not every message in Fight the Power was that direct. “Swinging while I’m singing” alluded to Malcolm X’s famous 1964 dismissal of We Shall Overcome (“It’s time to stop singing and start swinging”), with the implication that Public Enemy could do both at the same time. Chuck knew his history. Whether by directly quoting the Black Panther slogan “Power to the people” and James Brown’s Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud or making veiled references to Bob Marley and Frederick Douglass, he was staking Public Enemy’s place in the long tradition of black pride and dissent and steeling listeners to join the fight: “What we need is awareness, we can’t get careless.”

In August, New York’s racial unease came to a head with the murder of 16-year-old Yusef Hawkins, which provoked a real-life march through Brooklyn and contributed to the election of David Dinkins, the city’s first black mayor. Time magazine claimed that Fight the Power, more than any other track, proved that hip hop was “more than entertainment – more, even, than an expression of [fans’] alienation and resentments. It is a major social force.”

East Coast Vs West Coast

The beef divided the hip-hop community between East Coast and West Coast artists and their entourages, but the key players were Notorious B.I.G. (affiliated with Bad Boy Records/West Coast) and Tupac Shakur (affiliated with Death Row Records/East Coast).

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

Wu-Tang Clan

Rodney King Riots

"Four Los Angeles policemen- three of them white- were acquitted of the savage beating of Rodney King, an African-American man. Caught on camera by a bystander, graphic video of the attack was broadcast into homes across the nation and worldwide.

Fury over the acquittal — stoked by years of racial and economic inequality in the city, spilled over into the streets, resulting in five days of rioting in Los Angeles.

A year earlier, in March 1991, King — who was on parole for robbery — had led police on a high-speed chase through Los Angeles; later, he was charged with driving under the influence.

When police finally stopped him, King was ordered out of the car. Los Angeles Police Department officers then kicked him repeatedly and beat him with batons for a reported 15 minutes. The video showed that more than a dozen cops stood by, watching and commenting on the beating. Ultimately, four officers were charged with excessive use of force. A year later, on April 29, 1992, a jury consisting of 12 residents from the distant suburbs of Ventura County — nine white, one Latino, one biracial, one Asian — found the four officers not guilty."

It had been months following the L.A. Riots with rappers, artists, and activists alike, reflecting on the year behind them, looking at what could be in their present and future. Ice Cube being the most consistent and resilient rapper during the L.A. Riots, penned a song months later to summarize whether that hope of the peace treaty, would be upheld.

"Called up the homies and I'm askin' y'all' Which park are y'all playing basketball? 'Get me on the court and I'm trouble Last week, f***ed around and got a triple double Freaking ni***s every way, like MJI can't believe today was a good day…Hey, wait, wait a minute! Pooh, stop this s**t! What the f*** am I thinking about?"

“It Was A Good Day” by Ice Cube, February 23, 1993

Ice Cube rapped of an ideal day with no interference from police, driving around his neighborhood, being drunk but handling his drink well, and even playing basketball with his friends.

An everyday description for some but not for those in the socioeconomic strata that Ice Cube represents, as the voice of those in South L.A. As “It Was A Good Day” continued on, the listener learns it was a dream as Cube snapped back into reality.

Survey Results #1

13 Responses

Question 1

1- Extremely Familiar

4- Very Familiar

4- Somewhat Familiar

4- Not So Familiar

0- Not at all familiar

Most people said they are somewhat familiar with political rap, I think this is because they are not heavily interested in the subject but will listen to some depending on the hip hop artist

Question 2

1- Aggressive and Not Helpful

12- Positive and Educational

Most people believe that political hip hop is positive and educational to others

Question 3

When you think of 'Fight The Power", what comes to mind first?


  • Corruption

  • Public Enemy

  • Making change to the system

  • Black Lives Matter

  • Rebellion

  • Black Lives Matter protests

  • Public Enemy and fighting against governments

  • Public Enemy

  • Civil Rights

  • A black fist in the air

  • Standing up against the thing that is oppressing you

  • Public Enemy song

All of the answers represent struggle and people in need for change, most think about Black Lives Matter protests and the Public Enemy song when they hear Fight The Power.

Question 4

Name 1 positive outcome of political rap, please explain why you chose this


  • Hearing a different opinion makes you think about your own opinion

  • Education, it allows the listener to understand the struggle of a different group in society

  • rappers during the BLM movement - raising awareness

  • When yg made fdt now trump is not the president

  • Education for people that don’t like politics but like rap

  • Expression, music is a powerful art platform that allows anyone the opportunity to express raw emotion and true feeling.

  • educating the youth on issues the mainstream media maybe don’t address

  • It helps people outside their community realise how bad there situations are and need change

  • Thought provoking

  • People finding positive black role models, it helps break stereotypes and educates people about cultures that they’re unfamiliar with.

  • The feeling of being heard. When rappers speak about the issues that you face yourself you feel as though your thoughts and feelings are important. You feel validated

  • Awareness on police brutality and injustice as shown by nwa because they shown what the police really was like by trying to oppress them, not allowing them to have freedom of speech and expressive their thoughts

  • Allows people to get across their views and options on current topics

Question 5

Public Enemy- 10$C

The Last Poets- 2

A Tribe Called Quest- 9

Tupac Shakur- 13

Childish Gambino- 13

Gil Scott-Heron- 4

Most people know Tupac and Childish Gambino, I think this is because the music is a lot more recent in hip-hop and the names are globally known by younger audiences, but most do not know the origins of hip hop including Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets and what they stand for in hip-hop.

Question 6

Very often- 2

Often- 4

A few times- 5

Once or twice- 2

I haven't heard anyone- 0

It seems politics in hip-hop is still relevant and most people have heard it in rap in the last year, this is mostly because of politics in the USA with Trump coming out of office and the Black Lives Matter protests.

Question 7

A great deal- 2

A lot- 3

A moderate amount- 4

A little- 4

None at all- 0

Most people will listen to political rap not as a genre itself but as more of a broad genre of hip-hop itself as it becomes more popular in the world across streaming platforms and radio so people wouldn't particularly choose it but don't mind listening to it.

Survey Results #2

10 Responses

Person 1- Kendrick, drake(?), KanyeW, Tupac,Eminem, jcole

Person 2- Eminem, tupac, kanye west, n.w.a, ice cube

Person 3- Kanye Jay z Public Enemy Tupac Biggie Nas

Person 4- Kanye west Kendric Lamar Eminem

Person 5- KRS-one, J Cole, Joyner lucas,Tupac, eminem

Person 6- Kanye

Person 7- Public Enemy, NWA, Tupac, Kendrick Lamar

Person 8- Public enemy, Kanye West, Dave, Kendrick, Tupac

Person 9- Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Tupac, snoop dog

Person 10- Childish Gambino Tupac Biggie Smalls Kendrick Lamar Jay-Z

Cultural change

where did rap orginate

Scar- Jamaica

Kanye West

A perfect example of a positive impact hip-hop has on the world is Kanye West and his massively successful career, through all the things he has accomplished, this makes people (who were in his situation before becoming famous) become inspired by his work and help them on their way to success also.

His recent presidential campaign shows that anyone can do what he does and shows how important it is being a music artist in politics as they are very grounded in their communities.

Top 10 Research Findings


For political hip-hop covers on my survey, people preferred a more real and exciting cover rather than a simplistic cover and thought real is more powerful, for example the Kendrick Lamar album covers, people preferred ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ album cover I think because it is a lot more impactful and you can clearly see the power of the people overpowering the system.


Gil on the meaning of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised- "The first change that takes place is in your mind. You have to change your mind before you change the way you live and the way you move. Maybe I need to help people understand the meaning of famous lines like this and "Fight The Power"


The very origin of Hip-Hop music in the 1980s was inspired by 1970s political musical preachers such as The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron, therefore Hip-Hop was made from a form of struggle focusing on politics to demand change and is now always evolving through different times


Ice Cube “It Was A Good Day”- Ice Cube rapped about an ideal day in the neighbourhood with no interference from police and playing basketball with his friend but as the song continued on, the listener learns it was a dream as Cube snapped back into reality. This shows the positive impact political rap can have on the listeners in these struggles themselves to help them dream of a better day but also helps to expose police brutality and the injustices in the system that people cannot have a “Good Day”


The famous Childish Gambino “This is America” video shows a shift in how political rap can be performed through arts such as choreography in videos as well as spoken word. "Donald Glover made a brilliant artistic statement about gun violence and racism in America with the video for this song, featuring Glover dancing through an escalating riot


These four key elements, DJing, MCing, breakdancing and graffiti, had merged to become the four pillars of hip-hop.

Deejaying: making music using record players, turntables, and DJ mixers

Rapping: rhythmic vocal rhyming style

Graffiti painting: also known as “graf” or “writing”

Break dancing: a form of dance that also encompasses an overall attitude and style


From my survey, everyone knew more recent hip hop artists like Tupac Shakur and Childish Gambino but very little knew the artists that actually originated the genre of hip hop, Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets


From my second survey, most people preferred photography on an album cover to represent political hip hop than illustration or art, this may because it shows how real their situation is


From my survey, it seems most people know that “Fight The Power” stood for some kind of rebellion against the system for change but didn’t know that it started with the song “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy that started the whole movement


Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five created one of the first political rap songs in hip-hop with "The Message". He created a sense of what it was like in the eighties. The record became timeless because people who live in the low-income neighborhoods today can relate.

With the top finding being that people much prefer a more realistic and obvious design for political rap rather than a more simple design, it shows how I need to be obvious with my design and get them message across effectively.

Tupac Shakur


"Tupac Shakur passionately explains his views on generosity and responsibility, traits he feels some people with extreme wealth like Donald Trump lack, in this MTV News clip from 1992."

Tupac Shakur 1994 Exclusive Interview With Ed Gordon


“They got money for war, but can’t feed the poor.”

“You see you wouldn’t ask why the rose that grew from the concrete had damaged petals. On the contrary, we would all celebrate its tenacity. We would all love it’s will to reach the sun. Well, we are the rose – this is the concrete – and these are my damaged petals. Don’t ask me why, thank God n*****, ask me how!”

“I have not brought violence to you. I have not brought ‘thug life’ to America. I didn’t create ‘thug life;’ I diagnosed it.”

“The power is in the people and politics we address”

Tupac was very politically conscious at a very young age, which was evident in his lyrics. Did you know he was born in East Harlem, NY & lived in the North East for 17 years before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. There he initially lived with a non-black woman Leila Steinberg (1/4 Turkish, 1/4 Mexican, 2/4 German-Polish) who instigated Tupac's mind by having him read deep books, such as feminist writings, by age 20.

Leila Steinberg: "From the very first day, he defiantly wanted to use his art for social change. He wanted to be a voice, not a star. So we stayed up probably until three in the morning that very first day that we met, talking about what we found in terms of our visions, for the planet, for people, for healing prejudice, for understanding black struggle, native American struggle, Latin struggle, women struggle, and just our commitment to fight for oppressed people."


Major Project S2- Practical


Bus Shelter Campaign

Album Covers


Clothing designs

Social Media posts

Magazine Covers/ Spreads

Educating people on hip-hop and political rap through time and going in depth in lyrics and their meanings along with statements by hip-hop artists.

Graffiti styled?

Modern graphic design mixed with old school hip-hop design

Raw imagery or illustration (brick walls etc)



Initial Concepts

Large statement to get viewers attention

Graffiti styled

Mainly illustrated and bold design

Multiple designs that work well together as a campaign with different artists from different eras and their important works of art and impacts on society and the political rap movement.

I will experiment with different graffiti styles that suit the design best along with a colour scheme that is aesthetically pleasing to all viewers.


Digital Concepts

Artists included:

1970's: DJ Kool Herc

1980's: Public Enemy

1990's: 2Pac

2000's: Lil Wayne

2010's: Kendrick Lamar

Logo Concepts

Final Logo

Colour Testing

Main Colour Scheme

From all of the colour scheme ideas that I thought of I showed them all to 10 people for them to critic them and choose a specific colour scheme they think will work best with the project

Out of the 10 people, 5 people chose black and white colour scheme and mentioned that it looks a lot more relatable to the genre being gritty at times and real.


Initial Clothing Designs


T-Shirt Designs


Mock-Up Test

Info Cards

Van Concept


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