Melody will take us on a trip across town to meet our next artist, Basik Lee. Use SG19–21 to meet Basik Lee and prepare your students to learn about hip hop.
Hip hop’s roots lie in the ancient storytelling traditions of the West African jelis, who Europeans called “griots,” that were brought to the U.S. during the transatlantic slave trade. Enslaved Africans managed to maintain this focus on oral traditions, keeping song and poetry alive while creating new styles of music. During slavery and in the time that has followed, African-Americans created a quintessential musical lineage that grew to encompass spirituals, jazz, blues, rock, soul,R&B, and, in the late 1970s, hip hop. Pioneered by African-American, Latino, and West Indian teenagers in the South Bronx, hip hop drew on the West African practice of telling the stories of the people through rhythm and voice. It also expanded upon and reinvented styles of music and dancing popular in New York City clubs, like funk, disco, and even punk.