Jay-Z, Zora Neale Hurston, and Rap Genius: African American Expressive Culture and “Swag”

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[By Kenton Rambsy] ***Help Me Annotate on RapGenius. Read Post to find out how*** In “Public Service Announcement” Jay-Z raps, “Check out my hat yo, peep the way I wear it/Check out my swag’ yo, I walk like a ballplayer.” Jay-Z’s reference to “Swag” has deeper cultural roots for African Americans. Even though the word “swag” has been made wildly popular by rappers in recent […]

Follow Up: 7 Links That Demonstrate RapGenius’s Connection To Digital African American Literary Scholarship

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[By Kenton Rambsy] On yesterday, I posted a list of “7 Ways that RapGenius Assists Digital African American Literary Scholarship.” Today, I decided to do a follow up post to illustrate exactly what I meant by providing actual examples on the RapGenius website. RapGenius’s crowd-sourced, multimedia platform helps users to fuse social networking and online databases to create digital resources to study black writing. 1)  RapGenius […]

7 Ways that RapGenius Assists Digital African American Literary Scholarship

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[By Kenton Rambsy] I said it once and I’ll say it again: Rap Genius is not just for Rap fans. In my post, Rap Genius and Black Literature, I wrote about how the website “helps clarify the importance of language usage, historical context, and thematic content in poems, speeches, essays, and novels.” Rap Genius’s growing online collection of black writers ranging from Langston Hughes to […]

Rap Genius and Black Literature

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[By Kenton Rambsy] Rap Genius is not just for rap fans. The website, made popular for its explanations of rap music, has now ventured into providing detailed explanations for literary texts. Using the same crowd-sourced annotation platform, Rap Genius allows for its users to break down literary texts and help clarify the importance of language usage, historical context, and thematic content in poems, speeches, essays, […]

Text Mining: Two Short Stories By Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright

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[By Kenton Rambsy] Often times, there is a major emphasis placed on the ideological differences between Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright. In some respects, the tendency to highlight their differences overshadows their similarities. Besides, perhaps their writings have more in common than accounts of the differences imply. I recently decided to focus on what the writers had in common specifically concentrating on how they […]

Black Studies and Digital Humanities: A Growing List of Online Resources

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[Compiled by Kenton Rambsy & Goyland Williams] I am interested in online mediums, blogs in particular, can be used as a space to think through ideas when preparing larger publications, getting immediate feedback, and simply giving larger audiences access to new ideas and information.  In terms of bridging the gap between “Digital Humanities” and “Black Studies,” developing an online presence is crucial. Online websites concerning […]

Mixtapes, Digital Humanities, and Black Studies

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[By Kenton Rambsy] In terms of hip-hop culture, mixtapes have always been a crucial part of how rappers and other musical artists produced and circulated their works beyond official channels. Afrika Bambaataa and DJ Kool Herc, back in the day, and in more recent times Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, and Frank Ocean utilized mixtapes to get their works out to different publics.   With the […]