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Youth Culture Power

A #HipHopEd Guide to Building Teacher-Student Relationships and Increasing Student Engagement


Jason D. Rawls and John Robinson

In our schools, hip-hop culture is the dominant culture among the students. In Youth Culture Power: A #HipHopEd Guide to Building Teacher-Student Relationships and Increasing Student Engagement, Jason D. Rawls and John Robinson, educators and hip-hop artists with experience in the urban classrooms, focus their efforts through Hip-Hop Based Education (HHBE). They argue that hip-hop culture could be useful in building relationships and building student engagement.

The approach to achieve this is Youth Culture Pedagogy (YCP). YCP is based in a foundation of reality pedagogy (Emdin, 2014), culturally responsive pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995), and HHBE (Hill, 2009; Petchauer, 2009). In this volume, the authors lay the groundwork for YCP and how they envision its use within the classroom.

In Youth Culture Power, the authors put forth their C.A.R.E. Model of youth pedagogy to help teachers create a positive learning environment by building relationships and lessons around students’ own culture. Instead of forcing students to give up the things they frequent, Rawls and Robinson feel teachers should discuss them and when possible, use them in lessons. The purpose of this book is to present a fresh take on why educators should not discount the culture of youth within the classroom.

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Glossary of Terms


A-Alikes: Two people who have the same behavioral characteristics. Often times they have similar personality traits, demeanor, taste and aesthetic.

Add on to the Cipher: To contribute valuable information to a conversation or project. To bring more resources to any situation in order to more productively build something.

Audi 5000: Hip-hop term from the Golden era of hip-hop meaning “good-bye” or “I am leaving”

CRP: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy—first described by Gloria Ladson-Billings

Do the Knowledge: Doing research to discover your own answers about a topic

Freaking Your Sneakers: This is how one manipulates shoelaces, usually involving sneakers or gym shoes

Free Free: Slang term used to describe free and reduced lunch

Freestyle: To Improvise Rap sentences without a plan or writing it down. Rapping whatever comes to mind right on the spot in the moment.

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