The Pedagogy of Progressive Hip Hop


  • Brian Criswell


The purpose of this paper is to consider music as a means of educating people about the broad, sociological concept of social inequality as it relates to class, examining how lyrics might shape one’s views regarding this paradigm. Music is a medium of active engagement that reaches the masses and encourages critical thought among listeners, regardless of their interest in sociological concepts. I would argue that ignorance of the issues surrounding social inequality and society’s at-large acceptance of a false consciousness serves to perpetuate the status quo and keeps individuals from becoming informed consumers of sociological thought. Through music people can become not only informed but also empowered to engage in active change against the structures limiting them. Progressive Hip-Hop, in particular, tends to focus on a sociological definition of inequalities and the road to overcoming these injustices. By analyzing the lyrics of two progressive hip hop artists–Blue Scholars and Common Market–I will illustrate how one sub-genre of music can be used to reach multiple audiences (at various levels of social class) and encourage knowledge dissemination while paving a course to action.