When was the last time you held a CD cover in your hands, let alone decorated one?
The Cultural Center was filled with students showing their appreciation for hip-hop music by crafting CD album covers to represent their favorite songs to the tunes of hip-hop legends of past and present last week.
Hip-hop is one of the most diverse and impactful cultures within the music scene. With origins dating back to New York City in the ‘70s, the genre has evolved from decade to decade. From the innovative turntables of Grandmaster Flash, to the West Coast versus East Coast rivalries of the ‘90s, to today’s rap hits, hip-hop has transversed generational and cultural boundaries.
While hip-hop and rap are often conflated, rap is a genre based on vocal delivery of rhymes, rhythm, and lyrics, which exists within hip-hop culture. Today, rap music has reached audiences from across the world and has been ingrained into American music culture.
Drawn in by the beat of Tupac’s “To Live and Die in L.A,” when I entered the room, fellow hip-hop aficionados were busy at work creating their own masterpiece album cover. It wasn’t long before I found the inspiration to start my own cover. I browsed my Spotify playlist to choose my recent favorites and then shuffled through the pile of stickers to begin my album’s artwork. For my album cover, I wrote “Love Sosa” in reference to Chicago drill rapper, Chief Keef paying homage to my hometown.
With my finished album ready for the radio, I made my way to each table to appreciate the creativity in the room.
Isabella Paloma, a third-year nursing major, decorated her album cover with a sticker that said, “just send it.” She added orange, peach, pink, and yellow drawings, and filled her cover with patterns and swipes of colors. Although her canvas was filled with amazing artwork, Isabella said “no, I’m not artistic.”
Alyssa Sarigumba, a third-year nursing major, came with Paloma to the event because of their Hip-Hop Dance and Culture class. Sarigumba said that the class “took me out of my comfort zone” because it encouraged deep thinking about hip-hop’s cultural impact.
Despite not being an avid hip-hop fan, Ann Le, assistant director of the cultural centers, stopped by to participate in the conversation and even make her own album cover. On her cover, she painted the silhouette of a woman, adorned with encouraging words.
“My favorite aspect of the conversation was hearing how hip-hop has positively impacted people’s lives,” she said.