Student symposium embraces hip-hop music

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Students and faculty gather around outside TCU’s Erma Lowe Hall for a freestyle battle during Tuesday’s hip-hop symposium.
Photo: Trent Attyah

The TCU hip-hop community rejoiced as twelve honors students coordinated the first ever hip-hop symposium on campus Tuesday.

The symposium was put on by students in the “Genius of Hip-Hop” course, an honors class taught by Dr. Fredrick W. Gooding. Despite the light rainfall, the symposium saw a turnout of roughly 75 students.

The symposium featured various performing artists within the hip-hop community, starting with a live aerosol art demonstration by street artist MIKE 360. Students who attended the symposium competed in a dance competition to win a custom design from the artist.

A live aerosol art demonstration by street artist “MIKE360”.
PHOTO: Trent Attyah

Students eventually made their way inside Erma Lowe Hall to attend a live performance from musical artist MC SUPERNATURAL, who holds the Guinness World Record for longest consecutive freestyle at roughly 9 hours and 30 minutes.

A live performance by MC SUPERNATURAL held in Erma Lowe Hall.
PHOTO: Dr. Fredrick W. Gooding

The event concluded with students participating in the “Battle of the Beats,” where attendees competed in a rap battle competition to win various prizes.

Gooding, assistant professor of African American studies in the John V. Roach Honors College, believes the turnout during Tuesday’s symposium showed that there is significant interest in hip-hop at TCU.

Sophomore political science major Tucker Wilkie (right) participates in “Battle of the Beats” to conclude Tuesdays’ symposium.
PHOTO: Dr. Fredrick W. Gooding

“We believe there is a community that supports the embracing of hip-hop and taking it seriously, so I believe the future is bright for the hip-hop symposium,” Gooding said. “Despite the rain forecast, there is a sizable amount of people outside on a Tuesday, so I think this is indicative that we are tapping into something.”

Gooding said he first experienced hip-hop culture while attending Morehouse College, a historically black college in Atlanta.

“For the first time, I saw different images reflected to me as far as people who are professional and could do this kind of work,” Gooding said.

Dr. Fredrick W. Gooding thanks TCU hip-hop community for attending Tuesday’s symposium.
Photo: Trent Attyah

After earning his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, Gooding received his Ph.D. from Georgetown University.

“At Georgetown I had some amazing professors, but it was a very white space and no one really reflected my image,” Gooding said. “That was when hip-hop became that escape for me.”

Senior communication studies and sociology double major Devyn Dellenberg said she was excited for the opportunity to take the new course.

“I took this course because I have always been super passionate about music and its ability to change people the way words can’t,” Dellenberg said. “I’ve always been appreciative of music, whether it be composition or lyrics. The magic that can be created through music is something that has always inspired me, so when I saw this class was an option I was super interested.”

Within the Genius of Hip-Hop course, Gooding’s students partake in various projects, which include creating their own hip-hop tracks, writing song reflections and participating in valuable discussion.

“Hip-hop is a very complex art form with various elements and rules,” Gooding said. “After I taught the class most of the elements in the first part of the semester, I deputize them to share what they have learned with a larger TCU and Fort Worth community during the second half of the semester.”

MC SUPERNATURAL holds a Q&A for attendees prior to his live performance.
PHOTO: Dr. Fredrick W. Gooding

Gooding said he believes there will be more hip-hop symposiums in the future after seeing the success of the first one.

“The belief and hope is that there will be more symposiums similar to this one,” Gooding said. “By showcasing different aspects of the hip-hop culture, we hope for people to walk away with a greater appreciation for hip-hop.”

Read more information about the “Genius of Hip-Hop” honors course in the TCU class search catalog or reach out to Gooding via email at f.gooding@tcu.edu.