Rudolf Haken

Professor of Music, University of Illinois



Video of Dec 3, 2018 Show

Video of Sept 24, 2018 Show - Season Opener

Video of July 20, 2018 presentation at Hip Hop Music Education Conference][2]


1. Who can join? The Hip Hop Collective is open to all UIUC instrumentalists, rappers, vocalists, DJs, emcees, beatboxers, writers, composers, arrangers, dancers, videographers, audio engineers, producers, graffiti artists, and all other students interested in studying and performing hip hop, trip hop, R&B, dubstep, drum & bass, trap, jazz rap, reggaetón, salsa hop, rap metal, chillwave, gospel hip hop, and related genres. Musicians with no previous hip hop experience are welcome. International students and rappers with foreign-language skills are encouraged to apply as we are looking to perform hip hop from around the world.

2. How do I sign up? Scroll to the bottom of this page and fill out the application form (including a link to your video, audio clip, or art portfolio) and click "submit" at the bottom of the form. If you have questions email me at Course number for Fall 2019 is Music 450, section HH, CRN: 38255. Course is 1 credit. Final deadline for adding the course is Jan 28 but earlier applications are greatly appreciated.

3. What’s the mission of the Hip Hop Collective? The goal of the Hip Hop Collective is to gather the musical and artistic talent on our campus to maintain a “hip-hop focused artist community” at the University of Illinois. Each student who joins the Collective brings a unique skillset, perspective, and creative vision to the group, providing the necessary mix of artists and producers to create, perform and promote great art. The emphasis of the course is on maximizing creative inspiration, technical knowledge, and artistic skill through collaboration. It serves as a networking tool for emerging artists at Illinois, as well as a platform for merging musical genres. (For examples of prominent rap / classical collaborations see

4. Can I register for the course for several semesters? Yes, you can register for as many semesters as you like.

5. When/where do we meet? Sunday evenings 7:30-9:30 PM. We have the space available from 6:00-10:00 pm, and all are welcome to be there for the entire four hours if they wish. If you play drums or use equipment that requires setup you need to arrive early enough so you’re ready to go at 7:30. Sept 1, 2019 we'll meet in the "Fishbowl" (room 0359 Music Building, lower level). Beginning Sept 8, 2019 we'll meet in the Choral Rehearsal Room, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts 1st floor, Production Level. With sufficient advance notice, additional rooms may be reserved for rehearsals at other times during the week.

6. When / where do we perform? So far for Fall 2019 we have the following performance dates at Illini Union Courtyard Cafe: Mon Sept 30, 6:00 PM; Mon Oct 28, 6:00 PM; Mon Dec 2, 6:00 PM. Further performance dates / locations will be posted soon.

7. What’s call time for performances? Performances at the Illini Union begin at 6:00, so you need to be there by 5:00 for sound check and set up. If you have a class right up till 6:00, let me know and you can do your sound check and set up before 5:00.

8. Will we have dress rehearsals for performances? Yes. Dress rehearsal / run-through will take place during the Sunday evening meeting immediately preceding the performance.

9. Are there plans for out-of-town performances? Yes. Dates will be announced soon. These are not required – we will travel with available performers.

10. What will a typical Sunday evening meeting be like? A typical Sunday evening meeting will be divided roughly into three activities (sometimes consecutive, and sometimes occurring simultaneously in different rooms):

Rehearsals We'll rehearse at each Sunday meeting. If we have a performance the following day (or within a few days) we’ll have a complete dress rehearsal / run-through.

Seminars These are teaching / learning sessions on specific topics, run by members of the Hip Hop Collective, Electronic Music Club, guest artists, etc. Email me at if there's a specific topic you'd like to teach or learn about.

Jamming/improvising/brainstorming/reading sessions These are opportunities to share ideas, pick up on new musical styles, develop material, and form artistic bonds.

Each of these activities contributes in its own way to enriching UIUC’s hip hop community, developing new ideas, and perfecting material for performances.

11. What kinds of seminars might we have Sunday evenings? Seminars can be led by members of the Hip Hop Collective who have specific expertise they’d like to share with others, or they can be led by invited guests. Topics can be as varied as music production, beatboxing, songwriting, dance, scoring for instruments, career management, and recording studio setup. If you have a topic you’d like to teach or learn about, let me know and we’ll set up a seminar for one of the Sunday night meetings.

12. How are performing groups put together, and how is performance repertoire chosen? Everyone will receive a membership list with members' contact information, interests, instruments they play, software they use, musical influences, etc. From this list contact people you’d like to work with and discuss songs to perform or original work you’d like to create. At our Sunday evening meetings these projects tend to expand, as musicians spontaneously join in a project, adding depth and dimension to each performance.

13. How long in advance do programs need to be finalized? Programs need to be set one week before the performance.

14. If I have a song I’d like to have notated for instrumentalists, how long in advance do I need to submit my request? Any song you’d like transcribed needs to be submitted at least four weeks prior to the performance.

15. Do Hip Hop Collective performances include live instruments as well as backing tracks? Yes. There’s a lot of interaction between vocals, live instruments and electronics. Often we’ll take backing tracks and rewrite them for live instruments, or have instrumentalists improvise to pre-recorded tracks.

16. Are instruments provided? Yes, we provide a drum kit and electric string instruments. However, these cannot be used except for Hip Hop Collective rehearsals and performances. Rehearsal and performance spaces have sound systems.

17. I’m a musician/dancer but don’t have experience performing hip hop. How can I contribute to the group? Artists of every genre are welcome. We perform hybrid forms such as jazz hip hop, folk hip hop and orchestral hip hop. Additionally, music will be transcribed for any instrumentalists we have available.

18. How is music notated for instrumentalists? Sheet music is notated in several different formats to ensure that all musicians feel at home with what they’re reading (classical notation, chord charts, lead sheets, tablature, etc.)

19. Can I get course credit for notating music? Yes, that would be very helpful to the group.

20. Do you have a need for photographers, videographers, journalists, graphic designers, social media designers, etc? Yes, definitely. We need people to document and publicize the group! If you can create and post interview spots with members of the Hip Hop Collective, develop our Facebook page, produce videos, etc. you will be very welcome. This can give you course credit in place of performing or songwriting.

21. I generally perform as a solo act with backing tracks. What appeal would this class have for me? Every artist and every work of art benefit from new perspectives. Even if your songs work perfectly on their own, there will be other artists interested in making remixes of your songs, adding verses or instrumental improvisations, performing your beats on live instruments, creating dance choreography to your music, etc. This doesn’t necessarily improve or detract from your music – it simply adds a dimension to it, creating another version, opening it up to another audience. Simply being among fellow artists, showing them your work, will result in this kind of creative collaboration.

22. If my group is completely ready for performances, do we still have to go to Sunday evening meetings? Yes. Preparation for performances is only one aspect of our Sunday evening meetings. Networking, brainstorming, critiquing each other’s works, teaching and learning from each other, and blending genres of music are what keeps the Hip Hop Collective alive.

23. What if I can’t make all the Sunday evening meetings? Or what if I can’t get to meetings by 7:30? You need to attend 9 of the 13 Sunday evening meetings each semester. If you’re involved in a performance, you’re required to be at the Sunday meeting immediately preceding that performance for dress rehearsal / run-through. (See “What is the grading policy” below.) When you attend a Sunday evening meeting you need to be there by 7:30. If you’ve left town for the weekend, be aware of traffic and bus schedules to ensure you get back on time.

24. What if I can't make all the performances? You need to participate in 2 shows during the semester. (See “What is the grading policy” below.)

25. How do we reserve space if we need extra rehearsal time? Email me at, let me know the time you’d like to rehearse, and I’ll reserve a room. This needs to be done with as much advance notice as possible.

26. What's the grading policy? For an A you need to attend 9 Sunday evening meetings and participate in 2 shows. (These can include out-of-town shows, school visits, etc.) If you’re involved in a performance, you’re required to be at the Sunday meeting immediately preceding that performance for dress rehearsal / run-through. Your letter grade goes down by one for each meeting fewer than 9 or each show fewer than 2.

27. What other courses in hip hop / music production does the University of Illinois offer? (Courses are listed at AFRO 132; AFRO 228; AFRO 398; DANC 112; DANC 125; DANC 211; DANC 411; LLS 265; MUS 407; MUS 409; MUS 499; MUS 437; MUS 404; MUS 199; MUS 209; ECE 402

Degree programs of interest in the School of Music include:

a. Music Technology Option

b. Bachelor of Arts in Music (customizable degree program)

c. CS+Music

d. Music Education Prof. Adam Kruse is a music education professor specializing in Hip Hop and Music Technology

e. School of Information Sciences Dr. William Patterson is a specialist in Hip Hop Information Science, Technology Entrepreneurship and Cultural Engineering

Also visit the UIUC Library Rap / Hip Hop Resource Page



Name *
Choose Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Master's (indicate year), Doctoral (indicate year)
List instrument / experience / skills you have that will contribute to the hip hop collective. Include any ideas you have for projects, collaborations, performance venues, community outreach programs, etc.
If you are currently part of a hip hop group at UIUC, or are planning on forming a group with friends, list other members of your group so I can put you together in an ensemble.
List artists / songs / genres that particularly interest you. Links to playlists are welcome. Indicate if you're interested in developing original material.
IMPORTANT: Please provide a link to a video, audio clip, or art portfolio showing what you can contribute to the Hip Hop Collective. The material on your clip or portfolio does not need to be in hip hop style, and it can be as long or short as you wish. It just needs to demonstrate proficiency as an instrumentalist, vocalist, dancer, videographer, visual artist, sound engineer, DJ etc. in some genre. A lack of hip hop experience will not negatively affect your chances of admission to the course. The idea is to bring people from as many musical and cultural backgrounds together as possible, so long as they have musical or other skills that will enrich the course experience for all involved.