By Michael Foster-Sanders

A seven-member panel discusses the five elements of hip-hop as well as the role their lyrics play in society Feb. 21. The panel covered several issues often heard in hip-hop music including race and the prison system.
Daniel LeNoir/The Collegian

NE students experienced a different look at hip-hop from a socioeconomic perspective Feb. 21. 

The Hip-Hop Summit included a dialogue about how society affects lyrics and the content of music that is a part of the five elements the hip-hop art form is based on. Those five elements are emceeing, DJ-ing, break dancing, graffiti and knowledge.

They gathered for the summit to learn about the origins of hip-hop from a diverse panel put together by NE reading instructor James Branch.

“I wanted to do something that celebrated black history on NE Campus, also to show people something they might not be used to due to different cultures,” he said.

The panel of seven from different walks of life and sexes touched on issues such as racial tension, class, misogyny, education and the private prison system from a generational view. They also debated if the culture evolved or regressed and ways the gatekeepers could push the culture for the future of the art form.

Lyrics by hip-hop artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Dead Prez, The Notorious B.I.G., N.W.A., Tupac, NWA and 2 Live Crew were broken down to help students understand what message the artist was trying to convey with the song instead of taking the lyrics at face value.

“We wanted to show something positive for people to come together under the summit,” Branch said. “Next year, we’re going to be bigger and better. We’re going to introduce more elements from the culture so people can take positive energy away from the event.”