Upcoming Events

No results found.

Top Results

No results found.

Musical Explorers for Families & Kids

Hip Hop with Soul Science Lab

Meet Soul Science Lab!

Artist, educator, and creative director Chen Lo and multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer Asanté Amin make up the duo Soul Science Lab.

Step by Step

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.

Sing “Higher”

  • Listen to “Higher,” Track 32.
  • Sing along to the hook of “Higher,” using Track 33.
  • Like many hip hop songs, the lyrics of “Higher” have a message—something that the musicians want you to learn.
    • What do you think the message of the song is?
    • Which lyrics communicate that message?

What is Hip Hop?

Hip hop is the latest iteration of black music in America. Its roots lie in the ancient storytelling traditions of the West African griots, or jelis, 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 1970s, 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.

Explore More Artists

Georgian Folk with Ilusha

Discover music from the country of Georgia, situated at the border of Asia and Europe, and learn two songs, “Shina Vorgil” and “Shen Genatsvale.”

Native American with Martha

Much traditional music of Native American tribes is centered upon songs that accompany dances that continue to be performed at powwows and other social gatherings. Learn social dances and “40 Wheels.”

Malian Traditional with Yacouba

Yacouba introduces the kora, an instrument from Mali made of a hollowed gourd covered in animal hide, and teaches two songs, “Kelefaba” and Wawanko.”

Bomba and Plena with Juan and Julia

Discover the rhythms and expressions of bomba and learn two songs, “Estoy Buscano un Árbol” and “Ola de la Mar.”

Chinese Traditional with Qian Yi

Learn about traditional music including opera from China, including two songs, “Mo Li Hua” and “Gong Xi, Gong Xi.”

Stay Up to Date