ArticlePDF Available

BOOK REVIEW Hip-Hop and Mathematics: A Critical Review of Schooling Hip-Hop: Expanding Hip-Hop Based Education Across the Curriculum



Early HHBE [Hip-Hop Based Education] practices have taken place most often in language arts and English education classrooms because of rap music’s clear and intuitive connections to the written, spoken, and poetic word. However, researchers and practitioners must forge meaningful connections to other disciplines, including those (like math and science) that are alleged to be culturally neutral. (Hill & Petchauer, 2013, p. 3)
Journal of Urban Mathematics Education
July 2014, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 96106
JULIUS DAVIS is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in Department of Teaching, Learn-
ing and Professional Development in the College of Education at Bowie State University, 14000 Jericho Park
Road, Center for Learning and Technology Building 233N, Bowie, MD 20715; email: jlda- His research focuses on African American students’ K12 mathematical experiences
and African American mathematics teachers’ mathematical experiences and praxis in urban areas.
VANESSA R. PITTS BANNISTER is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the College of
Education at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., EDU105, Tampa, FL 33620; email: pitts- Her research interests include teacher and student knowledge in the areas of algebra and
rational numbers, teachers’ pedagogical and content knowledge with respect to curriculum materials, and
equity and diversity issues in mathematics education.
JOMO W. MUTEGI is an Associate Professor of Science Education and Director of the Center for the
Advancement of STEM Education (UCASE) in the School of Education at Indiana University-Purdue Uni-
versity Indianapolis, 902 West New York Street, ES 3132, Indianapolis, IN 46202; email: His research focuses on the underrepresentation of African Americans in science and
science-related careers.
Hip-Hop and Mathematics: A Critical Review
of Schooling Hip-Hop: Expanding Hip-Hop
Based Education Across the Curriculum1
Julius Davis
Bowie State University
Vanessa R. Pitts Bannister
University of South Florida
Jomo W. Mutegi
Indiana University-
Purdue University
Early HHBE [Hip-Hop Based Education] practices have taken place most often in
language arts and English education classrooms because of rap music’s clear and in-
tuitive connections to the written, spoken, and poetic word. However, researchers
and practitioners must forge meaningful connections to other disciplines, including
those (like math and science) that are alleged to be culturally neutral. (Hill &
Petchauer, 2013, p. 3)
here has been a call for researchers and practitioners to use hip-hop based ed-
ucation (HHBE) practices in mathematics education (Hill & Petchauer,
2013). In the edited book Schooling Hip-Hop: Expanding Hip-Hop Based Educa-
tion Across the Curriculum, Hill and Petchauer contend that extant HHBE litera-
ture has produced a clear and persuasive reason to use HHBE practices in educa-
tional settings. Hill and Petchauer assemble eight chapters from new and veteran
HHBE scholars in the United States and abroad to expand the use of hip-hop be-
yond English into other disciplines, specifically, and the use of hip-hop based ed-
1 Hill, M.L., & Petchauer, E. (Eds.). (2013). Schooling hip-hop: Expanding hip-hop based
education across the curriculum. New York, NY: Teachers College Record. pp. 208, $29.95
(paper) ISBN 080-7-75431-5
Davis et al. Book Review
Journal of Urban Mathematics Education Vol. 7, No. 1
ucational practices, generally. While rap2 is the main HHBE strategy used by re-
searchers and practitioners, Hill and Petchauer call for the use of other dimensions
of hip-hop “such as DJing or turntablism, b-boying/b-girling, graffiti writing and
visual art, fashion, language, or spoken-word poetry” (p. 2). Nevertheless, the edi-
tors do not offer a definition of HHBE that serves as a unifying thread throughout
the book. Hill and Petchauer (2013) note, “the overwhelming majority of HHBE
scholarship has failed to broaden the bounds of possibility for theorizing, re-
searching, or implementing hip-hop based educational practices” (p. 2). The con-
tributors to this edited volume seek to provide guidance in helping to broaden the
possibilities of HHBE into other disciplines. In this review, we discuss the possi-
bilities of this work in urban mathematics education for African American stu-
Organization of the Book
The volume is divided into two sections of four chapters that are intended to
expand HHBE into new intellectual directions. Part I: Aesthetics, Worldviews,
and Pedagogies of Hip-Hop addresses the intersection between hip-hop and edu-
cational practice in a range of disciplines and settings. In Chapter 1, Emdin (2013)
asserts to go beyond rap text to focus on incorporating the rap cypher3 battle rap-
ping,4 and what he calls reality pedagogy in science education. In Chapter 2,
Petchauer (2013) focuses on justice-oriented teaching and democratic curriculum
through the hip-hop aesthetics of kinetic consumption and autonomy/distance
with African American pre-service teachers. In Chapter 3, Peterson (2013) con-
tinues the focus on college students in an undergraduate hip-hop based composi-
tion course. He focuses on the hip-hop aesthetics of sampling, freestyling, and
remixing to design a pedagogical and theoretical foundation for the composition
course. In Chapter 4, Wilson (2013) focuses on southern hip-hop, higher educa-
tion, and historically Black institutions using the HipHop2020 Curriculum Project
2 Rap is just one of the elements of hip-hop. Hip-Hop refers to art forms and street influence that
consist of 11 elements: (a) rapping, (b) singing, (b) b-boying/b-girling, (d) djaying, (e) graffiti, (f)
beatboxin, (g) street fashion, (h) street language, (i) street knowledge, and (j) street
entrepreneurialism (KRS-One as cited in Bridges, 2011; also see Chang, 2005; Jeffries, 2011).
Hip-Hop also refers to how a person acts, walks, dresses, looks, and talks; in this context; it is both
an art form and lifestyle. We do not refer to hip-hop as a culture.
3 A rap cypher involves people getting together in a circle taking turns freestyling, rapping pre-
written or pre-thought-out rhymes.
4 A rap battle or battle rapping involves two people rapping against one another in front of an
audience who determines the rapper with the best lyrical content and flow.
Davis et al. Book Review
Journal of Urban Mathematics Education Vol. 7, No. 1
(see to promote leadership develop-
ment of college students.
Part II: Curricula, Courses, and Pedagogies with Hip-Hop explore HHBE
programs and their complexities. In Chapter 5, Irby and Hall (2013) focus on
HHBE professional development provided to practicing teachers interested in us-
ing hip-hop in diverse schooling contexts. Chapter 6 focuses on two hip-hop
based afterschool programs for youth in Montreal, Canada where Low, Tan, and
Celemencki (2013) advocate for teachers to use rap as text and creative practice to
conceptualize it as an aesthetic, cultural, and imaginative production. International
perspectives of HHBE continue in Chapter 7 with Pardue (2013) who examines
the use of hip-hip as a political project in São Paulo, Brazil with youth from poor,
working class backgrounds to learn about what it means to be Brazilian. The book
concludes by returning HHBE to the United States in chapter 8 where Stovall
(2013) describes a social studies college bridge course that examines the current
wave of gentrification and urban renewal in Chicago.
Hip-Hop Based Education in Science Education
In order to forge meaningful connections between mathematics education
and HHBE, mathematics educators will have to cross disciplinary boundaries to
evaluate HHBE as an appropriate tool for the field. We would like to take it a step
further by questioning whether HHBE is appropriate for African American stu-
dents learning mathematics in urban schools. The use of hip-hop in classrooms
was largely intended to reach African American students in urban schools (Irby &
Hall, 2013). As no chapters in this book address mathematics education directly,
we choose to focus a larger part of our review on Emdin’s (2013) chapter on us-
ing hip-hop based educational practices in science education, the affiliate to math-
ematics education. We pay close attention to Low and colleagues (2013) and
Stovall’s (2013) chapters where the focus is on youth, using them to draw paral-
lels to work being done in mathematics education and to glean insight into HHBE
for African American youth in mathematics education. We also focus on Petchau-
er (2013) and Irby and Hall’s (2013) chapters where the focus is on pre-service
and in-service teachers’ use of HHBE to think critically about how pre- and in-
service mathematics teachers might use hip-hop based educational practices.
Emdin (2013) argues that culturally relevant approaches that do not consider
hip-hop culture are most often ineffective approaches to teaching urban youth. He
asserts that culturally relevant pedagogy (see, e.g., Ladson-Billings, 1994) is inef-
fective when theorists and teachers do not consider that urban youth are deeply
immersed in hip-hop culture. Emdin argues further that misidentifying “hip-hop
as just a musical genre and not a culture, limits research and practice in urban
schools from moving beyond the dead, mechanical, and formal approach to in-
Davis et al. Book Review
Journal of Urban Mathematics Education Vol. 7, No. 1
struction that is prevalent in urban schools” (p. 12). In response to these ap-
proaches, Emdin advocates for five main concepts/steps (The 5 C’s) that teachers
should use to engage in HHBE. The 5 C’s comprise what he calls reality peda-
The 5 C’s of reality pedagogy include: (a) cogenerative dialogues, (b) co-
teaching, (c) cosmopolitanism, (d) context incorporation, and (e) content devel-
opment (Emdin, 2013). Cogenerative dialogues are “structured dialogues in which
the teacher and four to six students discuss the science classroom” (p. 20). He ar-
gues that these discussions should be structured like a rap cypher where partici-
pants form a circle, have equal turns to speak, and support one another in their
roles. Emdin views co-teaching as a hip-hop performance where the artists pre-
pare for a performance. In his view, the student should take on traditional teacher
roles such as planning and implementing a lesson. Cosmopolitanism is a philo-
sophical principle that, Emdin contends, is a part of hip-hop, and is based on the
idea that all students are responsible for each other. He purports that teachers need
to see how hip-hop youth exhibit cosmopolitanism in their lives as a means to
bring function into the classroom. Context incorporation involves teaching prac-
tices that use analogy and simile as a strategy similar to what rap artists use in
their lyrics. Additionally, context integration supports bringing items from stu-
dents’ communities into the classroom and connecting the items to hip-hop and
science. The last C, content development, involves teachers being willing to admit
they do not always have all the information and to share with students how they
acquire new knowledge. Emdin’s reality pedagogy offers useful suggestions for
involving youth in science classrooms and getting them to take responsibility for
one another.
From Emdin’s (2013) perspective, cogenerative dialogues, rap cyphers, and
rap battles are designed for urban youth to engage in science talk that results in a
better understanding of science content. His explanation of how to use rap cy-
phers and battles appears to fall short of demonstrating how urban youth gain in-
depth knowledge of science content. It is also unclear whether cogenerative dia-
logues are about science content or the science classroom. In one part of the chap-
ter, Emdin writes about science content with cogenerative dialogues while in oth-
er places he writes about students offering suggestions for improving the class and
being able to showcase their perspective on any classroom situation. He views
hip-hop as a key component to actively engaging students in science classrooms,
helping students in urban areas learn science, and making science culturally rele-
vant to them. Emdin’s use of culturally relevant pedagogy appears to focus on us-
ing hip-hop to help students achieve academic success and cultural competence of
hip-hop culture. He does not discuss or describe how to develop urban youth’s
critical consciousness.
Davis et al. Book Review
Journal of Urban Mathematics Education Vol. 7, No. 1
Developing the Critical Consciousness of African American
Students in Urban Areas
Critical consciousness is an essential component of culturally relevant peda-
gogy (Ladson-Billings, 1994) that Emdin’s (2013) reality pedagogy fails to ad-
dress. Culturally relevant pedagogy advocates for African American youth to de-
velop critical consciousness of racism, classism, and other forms of oppression as
a means to improve their lived realities (Ladson-Billings, 1994). Emdin’s reality
pedagogy falls short of raising students’ critical consciousness and changing the
conditions of their communities or lived realities in urban areas. However, Stovall
(2013) engages youth in raising their consciousness in Chicago at Lawndale/Little
Village School for Social Justice (SOJO) in a social studies unit entitled Hip-
Hop, Urban Renewal, and Gentrification.” Urban renewal and gentrification are
important issues in urban communities throughout the nation. Stovall makes con-
nections between gentrification and urban renewal in Chicago and New York City
using reports, hip-hop, social studies texts, and rap lyrics.
Stovall’s (2013) urban renewal unit was relevant to his students because
their neighborhood was experiencing the effects of massive gentrification. Stovall
describes how he collaborated with Eric (Rico) Gutstein (a colleague at the Uni-
versity of Illinois at Chicago who also works with SOJO) and SOJO faculty and
students to develop curricula and lessons in mathematics and social studies.
Gutstein (see, e.g., 2013) teaches mathematics for social justice and he has also
taken up the issue of gentrification in mathematics as a means of helping students
to develop sociopolitical awareness and to see themselves as change agents in
their community and society. His work also draws heavily on Ladson-Billings’
(1994) notion of culturally relevant pedagogy, more specifically, helping students
to develop critical consciousness to take action to change their lived realities.
Without addressing critical consciousness, Emdin’s notion of using rap cyphers or
rap battles as part of his reality pedagogy is no different from teachers who simply
rap or use rap text or rap videos in the classroom without any critical examination
of rap music, the artist lifestyle, or the communities they rap about.
Low and colleagues (2013) draw attention to critical rap/hip-hop conscious-
ness and pedagogies to prepare youth to critically think about the world and to
deal with their investment in some of the most oppressive representations of hip-
hop. The authors address the tensions with hip-hop culture’s depiction of vio-
lence, misogyny, race, and materialism, and how these issues impact the school-
ing of youth. These scholars assert that HHBE scholars and practitioners have
been so focused on working to legitimize hip-hop based educational practices in
schools that they either have ignored or disparaged the ways youth engage in op-
pressive elements of hip-hop culture. Low and colleagues focus specifically on
how racialized minority youth construct identities connected to hip-hop and how
Davis et al. Book Review
Journal of Urban Mathematics Education Vol. 7, No. 1
these identities are constantly being constructed and reconstructed in relation to
other cultures, communities, and affiliations. On the one hand, Low and col-
leagues emphasize that they are “wary of reifying notions of ‘hip-hop identities’”
(p. 119), a concern that we share, especially as it relates to African American
youth in urban communities and schools learning mathematics. On the other hand,
however, Emdin’s (2013) focus on hip-hop appears to advocate for urban youth to
adopt hip-hop identities without question. Emdin essentializes all urban youth as
being immersed in hip-hop culture, identifying with hip-hop culture, and wanting
to be taught using hip-hop. Conversely, Shockley (in press) argues that having
African American students develop hip-hop identities and refer to hip-hop as a
culture creates identity confusion and interferes with them developing healthy cul-
tural identities connected to African culture. In mathematics education, Martin
(2007) argues that educators must assume responsibility for helping African
American students to develop healthy racial, academic, and mathematics identi-
ties. These identities have played a major role in helping African American stu-
dents achieve at high levels in mathematics (Berry, 2003; Berry & McClain,
2009; Stinson, 2004; Thompson & Davis, 2013).
Teachers Use of Hip-Hop Based Education
Hill and Petchauer (2013) suggest that HHBE is intended for pre- and in-
service teachers, but little is known about the lives of these teachers. In the United
States, most pre- and in-service teachers are White and many of them possess
very little knowledge of hip-hop music or hip-hop based educational practices (Ir-
by & Hall, 2013). Petchauer’s (2013) chapter focuses on African American pre-
service teachers; however, it does not provide insight into how these teachers used
HHBE practices because they did not implement the practices with actual students
in a classroom. Irby and Hall (2013) provide insight into how practicing teachers
use HHBE. They contend that most research on HHBE focuses on teacher-
researchers in urban areas who elect to document their educational practice and
little research has been conducted on non-researching K–12 practitioners interest-
ed in using HHBE without publishing their work in scholarly journals. The au-
thors report findings of 63 non-researching veteran and novice teachers in Phila-
delphia who attended one or more of four professional development workshops
that focused on HHBE practices. The findings suggest that it is important to un-
derstand: (a) teacher identity, (b) the perspectives of teachers who do not identify
with hip-hop, and (c) the diversity of K–12 practicing teachers interested in using
HHBE practices because their perspectives are not reflected in the extant research
In Irby and Hall’s (2013) study, the majority of the teachers (51%) taught in
Philadelphia, but only nine of these teachers taught in Philadelphia Public
Davis et al. Book Review
Journal of Urban Mathematics Education Vol. 7, No. 1
Schools; most of the participants (74%) taught in private or public charter schools
in urban areas. The majority of the teachers were elementary and middle school
teachers (80%) with fewer being secondary school teachers (9%), and a popula-
tion of teachers (11%) that did not work with a specific grade level or with K12
students. Most of the teachers (60%) lived in the surrounding suburban or rural
areas of Philadelphia and commuted to teach in the city’s schools. Only 40% of
the teachers lived in Philadelphia. Irby and Hall found that non-researching teach-
ers interested in using hip-hop lacked knowledge of hip-hop and their motives for
using HHBE were not “situated in the theoretical and practical objectives of criti-
cal and culturally relevant pedagogies” (p. 112).
In our review of the mathematics education literature, it appears that, as Irby
and Hall (2013) report, HHBE practices that have been used by practicing teach-
ers are not being published in scholarly journals. Similar to the book editors, we
were unable to find HHBE journal articles published by mathematics educators.
Our search for insight into how mathematics educators use HHBE practices led us
to several web-based sources where mathematics teachers and students were using
rap and rap videos to memorize formulas, to learn mathematical facts, to improve
vocabulary, and to increase test scores. Hill and Petchauer (2013) caution against
such “rappin teachers” who rap or use recorded raps to promote memorization of
facts as they advocate for a deeper understanding of hip-hop aesthetics and epis-
temology and how they are connected to students’ lives and specific content area
practices (e.g., science, mathematics). However, most practicing teachers (includ-
ing mathematics teachers) who use hip-hop based educational practices in class-
rooms do not situate their work in critical and/or culturally relevant pedagogies
(Irby & Hall, 2013).
HHBE and the Mathematics Education of African American
Students: Important Considerations
The use of HHBE for African American students in mathematics education
should be approached from five areas of caution. First, there is an agenda being
advanced in mathematics education to conduct liberatory research and to provide
African American students with a liberatory mathematics education (Martin,
2009a; Martin & McGee, 2009). In Martin’s (2009a) edited volume Mathematics
Teaching, Learning and Liberation in the Lives of Black Children, he assembled
mathematics educators of African descent and others who are committed to
providing African American children with a meaningful mathematics education to
“change the direction of research on Black children and mathematics” (p. vi) with
a focus on the theme of liberation. Simply rapping, using rap text, or sharing rap
videos in mathematics classrooms without any critical examination of rap music,
the artist lifestyle, or the communities they rap about is not liberatory. Martin and
Davis et al. Book Review
Journal of Urban Mathematics Education Vol. 7, No. 1
McGee argue, “any relevant framing of mathematics education for African Amer-
icans must address both the historical oppression that they have faced and the so-
cial realities that they continue to face in contemporary times” (p. 210). We sup-
port and advocate for scholarship and pedagogy that produce liberatory outcomes
for African American youth. Jett’s (2009) review of Martin’s (2009a) book ech-
oes our sentiments about advancing liberatory mathematics scholarship and peda-
gogy. We ask: Where does providing African American students with a liberatory
mathematics education fit into the current research and pedagogical approaches
being advanced in HHBE?
Second, the theoretical underpinnings of hip-hop pedagogy remain under-
theorized (Hill, 2009). The same is true for HHBE in K–12 settings. The underde-
velopment of HHBE theoretically contributes to practitioners’ lack of understand-
ing of what does and does not constitute HHBE practices. For most mathematics
practitioners, it appears that the use of rap music or videos constitutes hip-hop
pedagogy. Most iterations of HHBE claim to draw on critical pedagogy and cul-
turally relevant pedagogy (Emdin, 2013; Hill, 2009; Irby & Hall, 2013). However,
most practicing teachers who use HHBE in their classrooms do not appear to de-
velop African American students’ critical consciousness or prepare them to take
action or to change their lived realities, which are all key components of critical
pedagogy and culturally relevant pedagogy. We ask: What are the key tenets of
HHBE that should guide teachers in general and mathematics teachers in particu-
lar to achieve liberatory outcomes?
Third, there is a push to develop African American students’ racial, cultural,
and mathematics identities (Berry & McClain, 2009; Martin, 2007; Thompson &
Davis, 2013). Scholarly literature in mathematics education indicates that racial
and mathematics identity development is important for Black students to deter-
mine what it means to be a Black mathematics learner (Berry & McClain, 2009).
While the development of Black students’ racial identity is important, we think
that it is important to distinguish between racial and cultural identities. Thompson
and Davis (2013) argue that there is a difference between racial and cultural iden-
tity development among African American students in mathematics settings. To
these scholars, racial identity development pertains to the ways social construc-
tions of race shape Black students’ racial identity development whereas cultural
identity pertains to African American students’ developing ethnic identities that
connect them to their cultural heritage in Africa.
Here, we are concerned about how the cultivation of hip-hop identities will
impact the current line of scholarship devoted to positively developing African
American students’ racial, cultural, and mathematics identities. HHBE studies
have shown that African American students are developing hip-hop identities that
often run counter (Low et al., 2013) to them developing healthy cultural identities
of what it means to be a person of African descent (Davis, in press; Murrell,
Davis et al. Book Review
Journal of Urban Mathematics Education Vol. 7, No. 1
2002). Both Davis (in-press) and Murrell (2002) argue that African American
youth must develop healthy cultural identities connected to the traditions, history,
and heritage of people of African descent. As a mathematics education communi-
ty, we have to decide if consciously promoting the development of hip-hop identi-
ties will interfere with African American students developing healthy racial, cul-
tural, and mathematics identities. In our view, advocating for the development of
hip-hop identities is not aligned with current efforts to promote the development
of healthy positive identities in mathematics education. However, we think that
mathematics educators will have to determine how to address African American
students’ development of hip-hop identities because many of them are conscious-
ly and/or unconsciously developing these identities.
Fourth, there has been a push to understand how social constructions of
race, racism, and other forms of oppression impact African American students’
mathematical experiences and lived realities (see, e.g., Martin, 2009a, 2009b,
2009c). Martin’s (2009b) Teachers College Record article sparked much conver-
sation in mathematics education about race and racism that had been silenced. He
examined the ways that race and racism are conceptualized in society and how
these social constructions of race and racism inform mathematics education re-
searchers, policymakers, and practitioners. Martin called for researchers, policy-
makers, and practitioners to examine how social constructions of race and racism
shape the mathematics education landscape. We ask: Where does HHBE stand on
addressing social constructions of race, racism, and other forms of oppression that
are prevalent in the lives, schooling, and mathematics education of African Amer-
ican students? Many scholars suggest that hip-hop addresses issues of race, rac-
ism, and other forms of oppression in urban communities and society (Hill &
Petchauer, 2013). If this is the case, addressing issues of race, racism, and other
forms of oppression should be a salient feature of HHBE. Those concerned with
African American children’s well-being must act with a sense of urgency to ad-
dress issues of race, racism, and other forms of oppression because African Amer-
ican students’ lives are at stake (Martin, 2009c).
Lastly, there has been a paradigm shift in mathematics education to focus on
successful or high-achieving African American students. The following factors
have been found to contribute to African American students’ high achievement
and persistence in mathematics: (a) early opportunities to learn mathematics; (b)
parental, guardian, and extended family support and advocacy; (c) advanced
mathematics courses and programs; (d) teacher and peer support and encourage-
ment; (e) involvement in extracurricular activities; and (f) spiritual beliefs (Berry,
2003; Ellington, 2006; Stinson, 2004). There is a clear line of scholarly research
focused on African American students’ success and high-achievement as opposed
to a narrow focus on their failures. Thompson and Davis (2013) argue that re-
search on high-achieving African American students in mathematics must shift
Davis et al. Book Review
Journal of Urban Mathematics Education Vol. 7, No. 1
from a focus on individual mathematics achievement to a focus on collective
mathematics achievement. They also argue that there has to be collective respon-
sibility for ensuring both “high-” and “low-performing” African American stu-
dents have an opportunity to achieve in mathematics. We ask: How does HHBE
promote high achievement in African American students that can complement or
advance efforts in mathematics education? The authors of this edited book sug-
gest that HHBE scholars and the current HHBE literature have made a clear and
persuasive argument to use HHBE practices and to expand the practices into in
mathematics education. As it stands, we are yet convinced that HHBE practices in
mathematics education should be used to teach African American students math-
ematics in urban schools as the authors of this edited book suggest.
Berry, R. Q., III (2003). Voices of successful African American male middle school mathematics stu-
dents (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
Berry, R. Q., III, & McClain, O. L. (2009). Voices, power, and multiple identities: African American
boys and mathematics success. New England Mathematics Journal, 41, 1726.
Bridges, T. (2011). Towards a pedagogy of hip hop in urban teacher education. Journal of Negro Edu-
cation, 80(3), 325338.
Chang, J. (2005). Can’t stop, won’t stop: A history of the hip-hop generation. New York, NY: St. Mar-
tin’s Press.
Davis, J. (in press). The influence of hip-hop on African American youth in a poor and working class
urban community: A critical examination of the purpose of hip-hop pedagogy. African American
Ellington, R. M. (2006). Having their say: Eight high-achieving African-American undergraduate
mathematics majors discuss their success and persistence in mathematics (Unpublished doctoral
dissertation). University of Maryland, College Park, MD.
Emdin, C. (2013). The rap cypher, the battle, and reality pedagogy: Developing communication and
argumentation in urban science education. In M. L. Hill, & E. Petchauer (Eds.), Schooling hip-
hop: Expanding hip-hop based education across the curriculum (pp. 1127). New York, NY:
Teachers College Press.
Gutstein, E. (2013). Whose community is this? Mathematics of neighborhood displacement. Rethinking
Schools, 27(3), 1117.
Hill, M. L. (2009). Beats, rhymes, and classroom life: Hip-hop, pedagogy and the politics of identity.
New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Hill, M. L. & Petchauer, E. (Eds.) (2013). Schooling hip-hop: Expanding hip-hop based education
across the curriculum. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Irby, D. J., & Hall, B. H. (2013). Fresh faces, new places: Moving beyond teacher-researcher perspec-
tives in hip-hop based education research. In M. L. Hill, & E. Petchauer (Eds.), Schooling hip-
hop: Expanding hip-hop based education across the curriculum (pp. 95117). New York, NY:
Teachers College Press.
Jeffries, M. P. (2011). Thug life: Race, gender, and the meaning of hip hop. Chicago, IL: University of
Chicago Press.
Jett, C. C. (2009). Mathematics, an empowering tool of liberation?: A review of mathematics teaching,
learning and liberation in the lives of Black children. Journal of Urban Mathematics Education,
2(2), 6671. Retrieved from
Davis et al. Book Review
Journal of Urban Mathematics Education Vol. 7, No. 1
Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The Dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African American
children. San
Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Low, B., Tan, E., & Celemencki, J. (2013). The limits of “keepin’ it real”: The challenges for critical
hip-hop pedagogies of discourses of authenticity. In M. L. Hill, & E. Petchauer (Eds.), Schooling
hip-hop: Expanding hip-hop based education across the curriculum (pp. 118136). New York,
NY: Teachers College Press.
Martin, D. B. (2007). Beyond missionaries or cannibals: Who should teach mathematics to African
American children? The High School Journal, 91(1), 628.
Martin, D. B. (Ed.). (2009a). Mathematics teaching, learning and liberation in the lives of Black chil-
dren. New York, NY: Routledge.
Martin, D. B. (2009b). Researching race in mathematics education. Teachers College Record, 111(2),
Martin, D. B. (2009c). Little Black boys and little Black girls: How do mathematics education and re-
search treat them? In S. L. Swars, D. W. Stinson, & S. Lemons-Smith (Eds.), Proceedings of the
31st Annual Meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychol-
ogy of Mathematics Education (pp. 2241). Atlanta, GA: Georgia State University.
Martin, D. B., & McGee, E. O. (2009). Mathematics literacy for liberation: Reframing mathematics
education for African-American children. In B. Greer, S. Mukhophadhay, S. Nelson-Barber, &
A. Powell (Eds.), Culturally responsive mathematics education (pp. 207238). New York, NY:
Murrell, P. C. (2002). African-centered pedagogy: Developing schools of achievement for African
American children. New York, NY: State University of New York Press.
Pardue, D. (2013). Who are we? Hip-hoppers’ influence in the Brazilian understanding of citizenship
and education. In M. L. Hill, & E. Petchauer (Eds.), Schooling hip-hop: Expanding hip-hop
based education across the curriculum (pp. 2846). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Petchauer, E. (2013). “I feel what he was doin’”: Urban teacher development, hip-hop aesthetics, and
justice-orientated teaching. In M. L. Hill, & E. Petchauer (Eds.), Schooling hip-hop: Expanding
hip-hop based education across the curriculum (pp. 2846). New York, NY: Teachers College
Peterson, J. B. (2013). Rewriting the remix: College composition and the educational elements of hip-
hop. In M. L. Hill & E. Petchauer (Eds.), Schooling hip-hop: Expanding hip-hop based educa-
tion across the curriculum (pp. 2846). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Shockley, K. (in press). Theoretical musing about hip-hop scholarship from an African-centered per-
spective. African American Learners.
Stinson, D. W. (2004). African American male students and achievement in school mathematics: A
critical postmodern analysis of agency. Dissertations Abstracts International, 66 (12). (UMI No.
Stovall, D. (2013). Hip-hop and the new response to urban renewal: Youth, social studies, and the
bridge to college. In M. L. Hill, & E. Petchauer (Eds.), Schooling hip-hop: Expanding hip-hop
based education across the curriculum (pp.115166). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Thompson, L., & Davis, J. (2013). The meaning high-achieving African American males in a urban
school ascribe to mathematics. The Urban Review, 42(4), 490517.
Wilson, J. A. (2013). The MC in Y-O-U: Leadership pedagogy and southern hip-hop in the HBCU
classroom. In M. L. Hill, & E. Petchauer (Eds.), Schooling hip-hop: Expanding hip-hop based
education across the curriculum (pp. 2846). New York, NY: Teachers College Press. !
... Although there have been a few isolated efforts (e.g., Davis, Pitts Bannister, & Mutegi, 2014;Gosa & Fields, 2012;, there has not been a sustained constructive critique of this work. Instead, the overwhelming majority of this scholarship in education is best characterized as advocacy of hip-hop-based pedagogy (HHBP). ...
Full-text available
Background Although there has been a pronounced growth in hip-hop-based pedagogy (HHBP) scholarship in recent years, there has not been a concomitant critique of this growing body of work. As a consequence, much of this scholarship is best characterized as advocacy of HHBP. Purpose/Objective The objective of this article is to promote critical discourse around the conceptualization and implementation of HHBP by (a) identifying a set of challenges presented in the conceptualization of HHBP scholarship, (b) describing the narrative that these challenges converge to support, and (c) suggesting an alternative narrative aimed at fostering a more empowering use of HHBP. Research Design To accomplish this objective, we provide an in-depth critique of Emdin and Lee's (2012) article, “Hip-hop, the ‘Obama effect,’ and urban science education.” Through this critique, we first identify eight challenges posed by the authors’ argument, as well as the narrative that is the foundation of this argument. Conclusions/Recommendations We conclude by presenting an alternate narrative of hip-hop as an instrument of systemic racism and offering suggestions as to how HHBP can be used in both research and practice to both avoid and counter systemic racism.
Full-text available
This essay takes up a question that was left unanswered in the paper by Parsons and Morton, namely, why the African American students interviewed in the study described their best teachers as they did. The theoretical perspectives of Rogoff and Boykin are applied to show the importance of culturally resonant science classrooms that hum with the repertoires and dimensions of African American students. Examples are provided to illustrate the need for science teaching that emerges from, is situated in and relevant to the lives of African American students, as well as approaches that lead to critical, socially transformative science teaching. These examples are also used to illustrate that a small space exists within NGSS for this kind of teaching to be done in science classrooms. Lastly, although student voice is important, surveying African American students to understand how they might best be taught science must be considered in the context of the racialized nature of the students’ experiences in the oppressive educational system that they have endured.
Full-text available
Background Within mathematics education research, policy, and practice, race remains undertheorized in relation to mathematics learning and participation. Although race is characterized in the sociological and critical theory literatures as socially and politically constructed with structural expressions, most studies of differential outcomes in mathematics education begin and end their analyses of race with static racial categories and group labels used for the sole purpose of disaggregating data. This inadequate framing is, itself, reflective of a racialization process that continues to legitimize the social devaluing and stigmatization of many students of color. I draw from my own research with African American adults and adolescents, as well as recent research on the mathematical experiences of African American students conducted by other scholars. I also draw from the sociological and critical theory literatures to examine the ways that race and racism are conceptualized in the larger social context and in ways that are informative for mathematics education researchers, policy makers, and practitioners. Purpose To review and critically analyze how the construct of race has been conceptualized in mathematics education research, policy, and practice. Research Design Narrative synthesis. Conclusion Future research and policy efforts in mathematics education should examine racialized inequalities by considering the socially constructed nature of race.
Full-text available
Many researchers, educators, administrators, policymakers and members of the general public doubt the prevalence of high-achieving African-American males in urban high schools capable of excelling in mathematics. As part of a larger study, the current study explored the educational experiences of four high-achieving African-American males attending an urban high school with particular emphasis placed on their mathematical experiences, which have been largely understudied in the educational research literature. Specifically, using African-centered worldview as the theoretical framework and phenomenological qualitative methods, the researchers examined participants’ lived experiences and how said experiences shaped their meaning of mathematics. Findings indicated teacher influence, peer influence, achieving success through sports and economic mobility were the most influential factors impacting mathematics meaning-making. Implications for educational researchers and mathematics teachers are discussed.
This article draws from a qualitative study often Black male K-12 teachers from the Hip Hop Generation who are closely connected to Hip Hop culture and have been effective in addressing the academic and social needs of Black boys. Through an analysis of their social educational and cultural experiences, this article highlights three organizing principles drawn from Hip Hop Culture—(a) Call to Service, (b) Commitment to Self-Awareness, and (c) Resistance to Social Injustice—which profoundly shaped the teaching identities of these Black men. The author discusses the implications of these principles for conceptualizing and creating teaching and learning environments that are supportive for Black male teachers and increase the capacity of all teachers to effectively teach diverse student populations.
Grounded in critical and culturally relevant theory, hip-hop-based education (HHBE) research documents the use of hip-hop in educational settings. Despite the richness of the emerging field, overreliance on teacher-researcher perspectives leaves much to be desired. Little is known of the extent and ways HHBE is used by nonresearching K-12 teachers. The field of HHBE would be well served to begin exploring the practices of K-12 teachers in various school settings. To encourage such a move, this article demonstrates that a new set of educators whose identities and teaching contexts are not considered in the field are indeed interested in HHBE.