Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A09. Keeping it Real: African American Memoirs After Rap Music

Keeping it real, the central tenet of rap music and hip-hop culture, examines several literary memoirs written by poets and writers who came of age during the early days of rap music and hip-hop. Our discussion of these memoirs is rooted in the tradition of African American autobiographical writing dating back to the Antebellum slave narratives. We will focus our attention on the ways in which our individual memoirists address the longstanding African American struggle against oppression. What are their anxieties and concerns? Does race matter anymore? What about socioeconomic status? Can black women keep it real? Are the authors’ memories even reliable? Students will read and discuss six or seven books, give oral presentations, and write essays and online prĂ©cis. Students who wish to read ahead in the summer should read The Adventures of Grand Master Flash: My Life, My Beats by Grandmaster Flash as told to David Ritz.

Deyonne BryantDeyonne Bryant
Samuel Valentine Cole Associate Professor of English