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Chris “Christylez” Bacon

March 25, 2010

On Tuesday, March 23, 2010, musician Chris “Christylez” Bacon visited our class to share his art, thoughts and politics. He captivated and energized our students with interactive musical performances. The video below includes “Mambo Sauce,” “Roaches” and an impromptu beatbox and spoon demonstration.

After Chris’ performance and a question and answer period, the class discussed our reading, “A Nation of Millions: Hip Hop Culture and the Legacy of Black Nationalism,” by S. Craig Watkins. Topics included black capitalism, economic nationalism, commodification and the political relevance of hip hop to a modern black freedom agenda. Chris helped us work through these ideas offering his artistic perspective.

The implications of commodification was an important theme. We addressed this idea when discussing different frames for hip hop artists labeled mainstream or conscious. Our students seemed to agree that there could be no “pure” space in which one could be free from the threat of inauthenticity or co-optation.

Learn more about Chris at

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