maker playground

hip-hop homage | 6th grade+

Explore the origins of hip-hop and learn some of the techniques used by hip hop artists to create music. Get inspired to make your own song by working in a digital audio workstation to create beats, loops, and samples. Then lay down your own track!

explore

Hip hop was created by young Black and Caribbean people in the impoverished neighborhoods of the South Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Discover the roots of hip hop in the South Bronx in the 1970’s and explore how the art form is a reflection of life in urban communities — and how it evolved into today’s modern global phenomenon.

For more historical context, check out this timeline on the evolution of hip hop.

Hip hop is a chronicle and celebration of the lives of Black Americans, their stories of perseverance, and their fight for greater equity and inclusion in American society.

Here’s a playlist for a sample of songs from across the decades: Crash Course in Hip-Hop Sampling History.

You can also watch this interview with one of the originators of Hip Hop.

imagine

Early hip hop artists used vinyl records, turntables, and often home-built sound systems to create a new kind of music. They used these tools to remix songs, sounds, and techniques from different musical traditions to create something new.

Today, most hip hop is made using digital tools. Hip hop songs are layers of sound created by combining beats, samples from other songs, and lyrics. Each layer has a purpose and adds strength to the song as a whole.

Taking inspiration from the history and techniques of hip hop, create your own song.

What will the message of your song be? How will your music and lyrics convey your message?

What hip hop traditions will you employ?

What songs will you sample? Why did you choose them?

To create your song, you can use a digital audio workstation (DAW) like BandLab. There are many other DAWs you could try, including:

  • GarageBand
  • Audacity
  • AudioTool

create

To get you started creating your song in BandLab, check out the embedded skill building video.

You’ll need to create an account on BandLab’s website with help from an adult. Once you’re in BandLab, click the orange “Create” button. You can find a tutorial in the “Help” menu.

Ready to submit a hip hop song you made? Send a file of your song to socialmedia@kid-museum.org along with your first name, age, and a description of your song for a chance to be featured on KID Museum’s website and social media.