The Hip Hop Transformation

The Hip Hop Transformation program (THHT) helps urban youth aged 14 – 18 find their voice through hip hop. THHT uses music to spark conversations about relevant social issues, confront social inequalities, and create a public forum to form opinions. Through learning about, writing, recording, and performing their own hip hop music, our students have the opportunity to articulate their own perspectives on race, politics, and society. THHT fosters love for quality music and unlocks the potential of youth from diverse backgrounds to be musicians, performers, and agents of social change.

The main objective of this program is to provide youth with knowledge and skills to promote pro-social behaviors and attitudes in an artistically relevant manner. Designed by Darrin Korte, passionate mentor and hip hop artist, the program begins with a history lesson. The group discusses how hip hop has been used as a form of self-expression and a refuge for those who are discriminated against in society, and how the art form has progressed over time. The students also engage in critical analysis of hip hop lyrics to deconstruct the underlying attitudes and messages of this popular style of music.

Local professional musicians lead the students through writing and recording workshops. Youth create authentic hip hop in a state of the art studio, utilizing personal experiences and what they learned in the first portion of the program to advocate for positive social change.

Not only do the participants share their message through recording their songs, they also perform at local venues, such as the Cambridge Public Library, City Hall and many other events throughout the year. These performances are outreach events designed to be a public forum for addressing social issues prevalent in mainstream hip hop such as racism, misogyny, and domestic abuse. Youth in the program will address these issues in a socially constructive way and spread these messages through their performances.

Funded by Boston, MA (May 2017)