Vincente Perez and Hip-Hop Poetics

16 Aug, 2023

Vincente Perez and Hip-Hop Poetics

We're thrilled to support our students in their summer research. Read about Vincente Perez's research into Hip-Hop Poetics below!

During the Summer of 2023, I spent my time as a 2023 Summer Research Fellow doing archival research for my dissertation Sonic Blackness: Hip Hop Poetics. I travelled to Chicago and attended the “Conjuring Popular Voice” Summer Institute in Performance Studies at Northwestern University. This weeklong seminar convened artists, scholars, and practitioners who treat the voice, sound, and pop culture as generative spaces to explore trends in social, political, cultural, and economic issues in America. I presented my work on Saul Williams' poetry and how Black poets and rappers like Williams engage in a form of Hip-Hop poetics that turns away from the imposition of white institutions like music genres and “turns inwards”, towards Blackness.

Additionally, while in Chicago I made progress on two chapters of my dissertation and accessed the archives at Harold Washington Libraries' special collections. Within these archives, I found evidence that Chicago represents its own kind poetry Mecca with traditional poets who were born in Chicago and operated throughout the 19th-20th century to the contemporary movement of slam poets and rappers like Noname, Saba, and Chance the Rapper. A common thread in the poetry/Hip-Hop Scene in Chicago is that the open mic and library infrastructure provides emerging artists access to music production tools and a competitive, but supportive environment. I also obtained primary documents from the film “Slam” that will assist with my research on Saul Williams.

Lastly, I presented a paper titled “Hip-Hop Poetics: Studying poetry and Hip-Hop Together” at the Teaching Black History conference at the University of Buffalo. This was a workshop for secondary educators, artists, and practitioners that also coincided with the 50th anniversary celebration of Hip-Hop. I also took advantage of a dissertation writing camp that they facilitated prior to the start of the conference.