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Lesson 1: Learning “Hip Hop Hooray”

Aim: What are the basic building blocks of hip hop?
Summary: Students will learn the hook to “Hip Hop Hooray” and learn about key elements in hip hop songs.
Materials: Musical Explorers digital resources, Musical Explorers Student Guide
Standards: National 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11
Vocabulary: b-boying/b-girling, beatboxing, DJing, graffiti, hook, MCing

“Hip Hop Hooray” is a famous hip hop song recorded by Naughty by Nature in 1992. Chen Lo and Asanté took the hook and underlying beat from this song and adapted it, adding their own lyrics.

Soul Science Lab Teaches “Hip Hop Hooray”

“Hip Hop Hooray” Demonstration

Hip Hop duo Soul Science Lab teaches “Hip Hop Hooray.”

Sing “Hip Hop Hooray”

  • Listen to “Hip Hop Hooray,” Track 28. Using “Hip Hop Hooray” hook, Track 29, sing along to the hook. A hook is a repeated phrase that returns like a chorus.
  • Read the verses of “Hip Hop Hooray.” Discuss the meaning of the lyrics.

“Hip Hop Hooray”

Hip hop hooray … ho … hey… ho
Hey … ho … hey … ho

Chen Lo:
We coming with the magic that’ll help you find ya way
Feel it in the rhythm when you hear the music play
We learned it from the storytellers way back in the day
You gotta watch your thoughts and be careful what you say

Be careful what ya say and be the best at what ya do
If yesterday was sad, then let today be brand new
Create a life of love, write a song, and leave a clue
This is the time to feel good for me and you


Chen Lo:
We’re doing it with hip hop, but don’t forget the jazz
Blues and rock ‘n’ roll, is where it all began
Now it’s in a language that the youth can understand
Say hip hop hooray, everybody raise ya hands

It started with the rhythm, it all started with the beat
And when it’s feeling good, you gotta get up out ya seat.
It’s time to clap ya hands, shake ya body, move ya feet
And when it’s done, take a break, then repeat


We do it for the love, we do it for the fam’
We do it for the fun, we do it for the Gram
We do it for the young, we do it for the old
Hip hop hooray, celebrate around the globe



Explore the History and Five Elements of Hip Hop

DJing: DJs make the beats, which are the core of hip hop music. They use turntables as instruments, “scratching” the vinyl records, and use digital equipment to change, loop, and layer sounds.

B-boying/B-girling: B-boys and b-girls are hip hop dancers; they’re sometimes called “breakers.” The “b” in b-boy and b-girl stands for break. In hip hop, DJs take instrumental breaks from songs and alter them by looping them and mixing them with beats.

MCing: MC stands for Master of Ceremonies. The MC is the rapper. When MCs began rhyming messages and stories over breakbeats at parties, rap was born. MCing has roots in West Africa, where storytellers tell stories over drum beats.

Graffiti: This is hip hop’s visual art form. Graffiti artists paint images with social messages in public spaces for people to see.

Knowledge: This is the abstract, all-encompassing element of hip hop that helps define the culture. Sometimes called “overstanding,” it is ultimately about knowing who you are and how you can bring that to the other four elements of hip hop. Iconic hip hop artist KRS-One says, “Rap is something you do. Hip hop is something you live.”

  • Use The Five Elements of Hip Hop (PDF) as the basis for a guided discussion about hip hop. Some of your students likely already know about hip hop, and this will be their opportunity to share that knowledge while putting it in a broader context. Here are some examples of questions you might explore:
    • What can you tell me about hip hop music?
    • Who are your favorite hip hop artists?
    • What elements of hip hop on The Five Elements of Hip Hop do you recognize?
    • What elements of hip hop don’t you recognize?
    • One thing that makes hip hop special is that it has a message; it tells an important story. In what ways do hip hop artists tell their stories?

Explore Beatboxing with “Hip Hop Hooray”

  • Beatboxing is a form of vocal percussion in which you imitate the sound of percussion instruments using just your mouth.
  • Listen to the basic drumbeat, Track 30.
  • This basic drumbeat uses a bass drum sound and a snare drum sound.
  • In beatboxing, we can make the sounds of the drums with our mouths.
  • The bass drum sound is made by saying the word “boots.” The snare drum sound is made by saying the word “cats.” Learn the “boots and cats” beatboxing pattern using beatbox demonstration, Track 31, and Learn to Beatbox (PDF). Investigate other sounds your students can make with their mouths to add to these two basic sounds.
  • Using the “boots and cats” pattern, as well as any additional sounds the students have created, beatbox along to “Hip Hop Hooray,” Track 28.

The Human Orchestra

  • Using the beatboxing activity as a foundation, brainstorm other instruments that can be mimicked through beatboxing. For example, describe what a bass or a triangle could sound like with sound only coming from your mouth (e.g. a low-pitched “doom doom,” a high-pitched “ting ting”).
  • Create a rhythm with your sound to contribute to the orchestra.
  • Divide the class into different “sections” that will perform the various sounds from these instruments. Assign one section to maintain the steady beat with “boots and cats.”
  • Select a “conductor” who will bring in each section. Begin with “boots and cats.” Then, have the conductor gradually bring in and take away each section, creating a human orchestra!

The Five Elements of Hip Hop

Music educator Margaret Jenks teaches the five elements of hip hop, in this lesson for students in grades 3–5 featuring Soul Science Lab.

Musical Word Wall

Add the words b-boying/b-girling, beatboxing, DJing, graffiti, hook, and MCing to the Musical Word Wall.

Don't Forget

Image Credits

“Turntables” by Andrew Evans is licensed by CC BY 2.0.

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