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The Origins of Hip Hop
Culture and Song Writing

The Origins program will teach students about the history of Hip Hop Culture and all of the ways that writing (Language Arts proficiencies) functions within the culture through rapping, vernacular language, songwriting, visual art and poetry.

Pennsylvania Curriculum Standards

(A=Assembly; W=Workshop; R=Residency)

9.1 Production, Performance and Exhibition of Dance, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts A, W, R

9.2 Historical and Cultural Contexts A, W, R

15.4 Learning Through Experience W, R

25.3 Pro-Social Relationships with Adults W, R

25.4 Pro-Social Relationships with Peers W, R

Art Form(s): Music, Spoken Word/Literary Arts

Instrument(s): Voice

Assembly, Workshop, and Residency Offerings



This Residency is designed to provide an introductory history to the culture of Hip Hop and to educate young people about all of the ways in which writing (Language Arts) informs the culture. The Residency will also provide opportunities for students to develop the craft of creative writing by learning about the major figures within the culture and developing their own creating writing and performance skills under the direction and tutelage of the instructor (KHEMIST).

Best for: Grades 6-8

About the Artist

Featuring: Khemist

Rapper, songwriter, poet and musician, Khemist is a Philadelphia-bred, bona fide musical savant. Hailing from the city’s Logan Valley neighborhood, Khemist is a rare talent endowed with the hawkish ability to represent the streets and to transform the Dickensian conditions of his formative years into inspirational and aspirational music. His extensive catalog is punctuated by his incisive lyrical delivery and an uncanny knack for detailing a bittersweet life amidst the blighted haunts of a hardscrabble, post-industrial city. After witnessing the final moments of a murdered man’s life in Barrett park/playground, Khemist took a vow of silence at the tender age of 11. In the ensuing years, the artist was formed in the cauldron of silence, intense observation, and an insatiable appetite for expanding his vocabulary. He wouldn’t speak publicly again until High School. 

The murder he never quite saw and the death he can never unsee were a morbid precursor to the world in which Khemist came of age. Early on in life, Khemist realized “It Don’t Get No Easier.”  With the subsequent deaths of friends and with many others lost to the American carceral system –– Khemist repurposed his voice to become an instrument of the voiceless. A former workshop leader for the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement, Khemist cut his teeth writing poetry, studying “The Come-Up Show” with DJ Cosmic Kev, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and listening to countless battle rap DVD’s. He cites Sonia Sanchez, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Black Ice, Mums Da Schemer, Sonny Patterson, Lauryn Hill, Ursula Rucker, Nas, Toni Morrison, Nikki Giovanni and Octavia Butler, ALL, as major influences. 

Joined Musicopia: 2021

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