UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS HIP HOP COLLECTIVE - OVERVIEW AND APPLICATION FORM
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, salsa hop, rap metal, chillwave, gospel hip hop, and related genres. International students and rappers with foreign-language skills are highly encouraged to apply as we will be performing hip hop from around the world.
MEETING TIMES: Enrolled students will be divided into small ensembles or working groups of about five people. Meeting times will be arranged according to students' schedules.
HOW TO SIGN UP: Please scroll to the bottom of this web 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 Prof. Rudolf Haken at RUDOLFHAKEN@GMAIL.COM. Course number for Freshmen is Music 199, Section HH, CRN: 46064. For students other than Freshmen the course number is Music 450, section HH, CRN: 38255. Course is 1 credit. Application deadline is Aug 27, 2017, but earlier applications are greatly appreciated. Enrollment is “by permission of instructor”. After reviewing your application form and video/audio clip/art portfolio, Prof. Haken will email you with results. Note: the class is open to Freshmen despite the 400-level course number.
COURSE OVERVIEW: Fall 2017 will be the initial rollout of this course, giving each member an influence on its direction and scope. Students will be divided into working groups to focus on selected songs / genres (or develop their own original material). Pre-existing groups are very welcome. If you have a group of friends who have not yet worked together but are interested in doing so, let me know and I’ll put you together in an ensemble. The overall goal for the Collective is to produce videos, live shows, and podcasts that will incorporate rapping, singing, MC'ing, instrumental music, dancing, graffiti, video production (possibly including animation), and all aspects of hip hop culture. Community outreach, collaboration with local and Chicago-area hip hop artists, and visits to schools will be important components.
Given the wide range of backgrounds of participants, a great variety in levels of experience with, and approaches to, hip hop performance is to be expected. Some members will come in being able to freestyle rap but not read sheet music, while others will have extensive classical, jazz, or folk training with no hip hop experience. Bringing together disparate musical traditions and performing together will take resourcefulness and inventiveness, but will result in some wonderful and unique music making.
Students new to the genre will be provided with written-out sheet music for their specific instrument, while more experienced hip hop artists (and others accustomed to improvisation) will be given free rein. As with any kind of music, some will prefer to take an authentic approach, performing songs as closely to the original as possible, while others will go in the opposite direction: “deconstructing” the music, for example by reworking a hip hop song as a quartet for rapper, oboe, cello, and tabla, or reproducing electronic sounds on live instruments. Students will explore ways of using their instrumental skills to effectively perform genres of music they may never have previously played. For example, pianists might play keyboard drums, or orchestral musicians might reproduce dub drops and wobbles on their “classical” instruments.
Audio engineers will need to provide audio support for performances and videos, balance acoustic and electric instruments and vocals, provide live feeds for podcasts, and generally troubleshoot electronics. Videographers and editors will have opportunities to create exciting and compelling videos and live podcasts.
As the director of the Hip Hop Collective, I make no pretense of being an expert in every aspect of the genre. Guest artists will be brought in to advise on specific artistic and technical issues, and among student participants there are likely to be several who have years of experience in hip hop and can help introduce others to this art form. Perhaps most importantly, we expect students to learn from each other, and as the director I expect to learn a great deal from students. I am in the process of collecting and arranging hip hop songs for “classical” instruments, as this is likely to be an important component of the course. Composers and arrangers will make a great contribution to the course by transcribing music for a variety of instruments as well as electronic media.
Students are very welcome to choose repertoire or perform original material. We will cover everything from the earliest hip hop from the late 70’s to the most current music, and the broadest range of styles and subgenres possible.
Application deadline is Aug 27, 2017. Earlier applications are greatly appreciated.