My project is titled "How Hip Hop Is Reviving Detroit," and through a sociological lens, I'm researching the ways Detroit hip-hop artists think about their role in the city as well in the world of hip-hop. In the broadest sense, I'm interviewing rappers at shows, observing producers in the studio, and writing about what I've learned.
I've learned that Detroit as a city is not as important to these artists as much as Michigan as a whole is. These artists aren't trying to separate themselves from the rest of the state. They preach "Michigan versus everybody" and an "everybody eats" attitude. "If one of us makes it big, we all make it," one of them said. Their sense of community trumps any of the artists' individual egos, which is rather surprising considering how self-centered rappers are often portrayed.
Because hip-hop is my passion! I only recently discovered sociology last year and after working my advisor, Dr. Lynn Verduzco-Baker, we were able to find a project that engaged my interests and the field of sociology. It's been a perfect match.
It has thrown me into an environment far different than our small Albion campus. I assumed myself to be a pretty confident and outgoing dude already, but this project has just tripled that. I've learned not to be so scared to ask questions and open up to people. Most of the time all anyone wants to do is share their story with someone else.
Well, my project will be ongoing and exist past this summer. I had one artist tell me that my research was "very special," which has motivated me much more than FURSCA or sociology ever could. I still have much more to learn though. I don't want to make any premature conclusions.
I've always been the kind of the student that thrives when given the freedom to explore my studies in my own way, and FURSCA provides exactly the kind of the avenue for that kind of studying. I've met so many cool people from my research and I've grown as a sociologist so much. I completely expected this project to be awesome, yet it still exceeded everything I could have ever wanted.