The Message

In the passage, Jay mentions hip hop as a genre of music that doubles as a socio-political movement. While the image of hip-hop has strayed from its origins, The Message remains one of the most pure hip hop songs to date. Within the context of the Higgins reading, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five are choosing to shy away from the depicting beauty in the song. They talk about the perils that face them by living in a remote and destitute neighborhood. The chorus typifies the mindset that one plagued by these conditions might have. Like Tupac said “I don’t know how to change it, but I know if I keep talking about how dirty it is out here, somebody’s gonna come clean it up” It’s not completely cleaned up yet though.

Sources :

Tupac MTV Interview (1994)


Final Paper Topic

For my final paper topic, I am going to look at how formalist theories from Bell and Kant can be applied to music, rather than just visual art. Bell preaches that content in visual art does not matter so much as the aesthetic emotion that it invokes in the viewer. I think the same thing can be said about music. Often times people listen to music and fundamentally disagree with the spoken messages it might send, but enjoy the music nonetheless. I believe this is a prime example of aesthetic emotion taking over. I think this is important because people love to discredit certain music on the basis of simple lyricism or content, but I interact with music as a feeling rather than something that can be objectively criticized. With songs that I consider to be art, I think that sometimes the words can even get in the way of the feeling being conveyed. Additionally, I will be looking at instances where this might be a great thing, and others where it can be really upsetting.

Raphael’s “School of Athens” (Houlgate, pg. 62)

Raphael Sanzio’s School of Athens was one of four paintings meant to depict branches of human understanding including theology (religion), jurisprudence (justice), poetry, and philosophy, which School of Athens is meant to depict. In School of Athens, we see Plato and Aristotle in the center engaging in a philosophical conversation, as well as many prominent artists (including Raphael himself at the far right) and scholars surrounding them. The figures are meant to symbolize areas of knowledge necessary for engaging in a philosophical debate.

Through Houlgate’s understanding of Hegel’s theories surrounding art, we know that Hegel values art on a surface over three-dimensional artwork such as architecture and sculpture. School of Athens succeeds in depicting the “recognizeable space in which concrete human beings can be seen” (Houlgate, pg. 64) without occupying “the real space of nature, but rather one created by the free activity of Spirit itself” (Houlgate, pg. 64). Hegel’s focus on this ability of 3-d illusion created by the artist, in addition to the use of differing light and coolors are integral factors in his idea of true art. Although Hegel was never able to make it to Italy to see the painting in person, School of Athens was a work that appealed to Hegel even through second-hand accounts.


Jose Limon

Jose Limon is known as one of the pioneers of modern dance. He studied under Doris Humphrey and later went on to create the Limon Dance Company. In this clip, you are easily able to see lots of emotion running through the dancers, namely confusion, grief, and strife. The frantic music amplifies those emotions, as well as highlights the dramatic movements of the dancers. Limon’s technique and manifestation of dance fits squarely into the expressionist category of theories surrounding dance.

Dance theorists like Martin and Langer would undoubtedly describe Limon’s performances as dance. “Both see the substance of dance in expressive movement, which Martin calls ‘meta-kinesis’ and Langer locates in what she calls the realm of ‘virtual powers'” (Carroll p. 589). Theorists like Noverre, however, might not classify this performance as dance, since it does not directly imitate theatre or life. In the same way that Noverre might reject this form of expression as dance, the idea of expressionist dance rejects dance as a theatre art altogether.