This is my first Dear Dance Teachers post. As a new dance teacher (literally just hatched haha) currently gaining experience as a Dance to Unite volunteer, I want to learn as much as possible about what it means to be a dance teacher and how to teach a class in a fun and effective way. Look out for Dear Dance Teachers posts sharing teaching tips.
I went on a mini Hip-Hop quest at the beginning of February to find appropriate Hip-Hop songs for kids. I knew I would have a difficult time finding songs without lyrics purely revolving or hinting around sex, drugs and violence, but I didn’t know it would be THAT difficult.
I wish there was a plethora of Hip-Hop songs for kids. Children and Young Adult Literature exists and flourishes because the need for it is acknowledged, valued, recognized and given attention. It would be a cool if there was a whole genre of Kid/Teen Hip-Hop with age appropriate lyrics and relatable content that received as much respect as explicit songs/artists do. Maybe Nicki’s “Anaconda” beat could go with a song about doing well in school or putting lyrics about negative experiences with bullying and overcoming the situation to Timbaland’s “Bounce”.
I wouldn’t tell any Hip-Hop artist with explicit content to change because that’s their art and artists create what they want. Not only that but I just realized that it makes no sense to complain about the content of some Hip-Hop and Rap and how it sends the wrong messages to kids. Not because it’s not true (it’s true all right!) but because I’m not looking in the right place. I’m not sure many Hip-Hop and Rap artists with explicit content are thinking about kids/teens while they are in the studio.
So where is the right place to look?
There’s something missing.
It would be so cool if there were music review websites and a ceremony like the Grammys or Billboard Music Awards dedicated to artists who created Hip-Hop and Rap exclusively for youth. If any Hip-Hop or Rap artists out there are reading this, whether you are well-known or just starting out, kids and teenagers need songs too!
Below are ideas for your Hip-Hop class! The playlists by no means represent all of Hip-Hop.
Song Suggestions and Tips
Note: Many of the songs below are still explicit, I suggest this list because there are parts of different songs that you can use.
Tip #1: Using the following keywords during research can be helpful: Hip-Hop, Old School, clubbanger songs, playlist, remix, dance trends, instrumental
Kid-Friendly and Semi-Kid Friendly Hip-Hop
Old School Hip-Hop
Hip-Hop Dance Trends
Tip#3: Youtube Hip-H0p Dance Trends from past and present
Remember the Harlem Shake Craze?!
Check out the Original Harlem Shake below!
Tip#4: Fusing Hip-Hop with other genres:Hip-Hop+R&B, Pop, Rock and Roll, music from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, musicals, film soundtracks, dancefloor hits ranging from house to dubstep
Tip#5.Taking parts of songs that are explicit and creating a medley
Tip#6. Slow Hip-Hop ( I realize routines don’t always have to be fast-paced Hip-Hop)
Tip#7. You’re sitting in your car at a stoplight and you hear the car beside you playing this really cool song, or you’re at a party and you really want to know the name of the song getting everybody on the dance floor. This is where Shazam comes in. Many people already know about this app. I love Shazam, the idea is genius. Whenever you’re on the go and you hear Hip-Hop (and other) songs you would like to try in your class, pull out your phone and Shazam, you know the name and artist of the song!
Tip#8. Research music review/media sites based in other countires and look for Hip-Hop artists/dancers from around the world like Les Twins
Looking at Youtube videos of parents dancing with their kids can be inspiring too!
If you have any ideas for Hip-Hop songs, please comment below!