The main purpose of this chapter is to translate a theoretical understanding of hip-hop culture into pedagogical practice. Youth are intricately linked and increasingly driven by their consumption of multimedia: music and video recordings, fashion magazines targeting youth, and now digital communication systems. This means the emphasis in education needs to focus on teachers as researchers into the changes affecting the daily lives of their students. Educators need to challenge their assumptions about the value of popular culture in order to engage their students with relevant questions connected to the consumption of knowledge outside the classroom. The student-teacher hierarchy needs to change in order for students to become active participants along with their teacher and peers. David Scholle wrote, “In rap, the turntable is perceived and lived differently—no longer is it simply a playback device designed to reproduce the sounds of commodities, rather it is seen as a musical instrument … turning a passive reproductive device into an active instrument” (McLaren et al., p. 246). This is a powerful metaphor for transforming the image of the student from that of a passive repository of information to an active agent in the creation of knowledge.
Hip-hop also has the potential to bring youth together from across race, gender, and socioeconomic boundaries. Graffiti writers continually have to reconcile different interpretations of their illegal act and to engage in discussions within their community and with the media. Hip-hop culture is