ICMP has hosted a Hip Hop Songwriting Symposium to gather academics, artists and practitioners to explore songwriting and how it has impacted contemporary songwriting practice. 

Those in attendance explored the tenets of hip-hop songwriting; how have these influenced contemporary songwriting practice (beyond conventional genre delineation); and how can we teach this effectively to our students?

Guests included activist, educator, and rapper Regi Angelou (pictured above), artist and educator Isatta Sheriff, ICMP MA Songwriting alumnus Jonas Grote, hip hop artist and songwriter Lavz and Otis Mensah, an artist, writer and poet. 

Shane Beales, ICMP BA Songwriting Programme Leader, said: “It was so great to be able gather together a national and international panel of specialists to address our staff and students. It was also fantastic to have two of our alumni as part of the panel."

We are very grateful to each of the panel members for the wealth of expertise and insight they brought to the discussion and we very much hope we will be welcoming each of them back to ICMP in the near future."

Speaking at the event, Otis Mensah said: “Inseparable from hip hop songwriting is anti racism” while Lavz said: "A key tenet of hip hop songwriting is identity".

Some of the questions addressed included:

  • In what ways can sample-based songwriting be taught across a range of styles and applications? 
  • How can the study of rap inform our understanding of and enhance our teaching of lyric-writing? ·
  • How can the study of form within hip hop music inform and enhance our understanding of contemporary songwriting practice?

The event was organised following a BPI report around music consumption in the UK. Their findings showed how in 2020 hip hop and rap music accounted for over a fifth of all music sales and streams in the UK, and “now occupies music’s the centreground”, according to BPI CEO Geoff Taylor. 

Visit the BPI website to read the report in full. 

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A great song can become truly timeless, remembered for generations as part of the world’s cultural legacy. Whether you want to craft a killer melody or pen poetic lyrics, our tutors will teach you everything you want to know, including all the production, performance, professional and entrepreneurial skills needed to ensure that your unique creations get the recognition they deserve. You’ll also benefit from A&R-style critique sessions, collaborative opportunities, access to fully equipped live rooms, recording studios and tech suites, and a community of inspiring contacts and friends.

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