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Hip Hop with Soul Science Lab

Meet the Artists

Soul Science Lab

Soul Science Lab is the multimedia duo of artist, educator, and creative director Chen Lo and multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator Asanté Amin. The group’s work draws on the full lineage of black American music, from West African roots to contemporary hip-hop. Between them, ...

Soul Science Lab is the multimedia duo of artist, educator, and creative director Chen Lo and multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator Asanté Amin. The group’s work draws on the full lineage of black American music, from West African roots to contemporary hip-hop. Between them, they have shared the stage with The Roots, Common, Erykah Badu, KRS-One, A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def, Raheem DeVaughn, Wynton Marsalis, and dead prez, and have performed on major stages, including Lincoln Center, BAM, and the Apollo Theater. Together, they created the groundbreaking production Soundtrack ’63, combining music and visuals to explore the black experience in the US from slavery to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Soul Science Lab: Chen Lo and Asanté Amin

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Artist and Genre Overview

Hip hop is the latest iteration of black music in America. Its roots lie in the ancient storytelling traditions of the West African griot, brought to the US during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Enslaved Africans managed to keep some of these oral traditions of song and poetry alive, and to create new forms of music. During slavery and in the century that followed, the lineage of African American music grew to encompass spirituals, jazz, blues, rock, soul, R&B, and in the late 1970’s, hip hop. Pioneered by African American, Latinx, and West Indian teenagers in the South Bronx, hip hop continues the West African practice of telling the stories of the people through rhythm and voice. In Asanté’s words, “Hip hop embodies the spirit of revolution and innovation that continues to survive in black and brown people despite challenging social situations and systematic oppression.”

As the duo Soul Science Lab, artist, educator, and creative director Chen Lo and multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer Asanté Amin approach hip hop as the heirs of this deep tradition, calling themselves “Afrofuturist griots.” Their role as educators is inseparably intertwined with their role as artists. Soul Science Lab combines music and multimedia performance to create culturally responsive, interactive educational experiences; the project Soul Science Kids speaks directly to an elementary-age audience.

Lessons

Lesson 1: Learning “Hip Hop Hooray”

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Lesson 1: Learning “Hip Hop Hooray”

Lesson 2: Learning “Higher”

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Lesson 2: Learning “Higher”

Student Activities

Additional Resources for Teachers

Listening

Reading

Video

New York City Resources

Literacy Extension

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