The Creation of the #HipHopEd Top 40 Songs based on Educational Value #T40S

By Timothy Jones, Chief Visionary Officer #HipHopEd @tdj6899
In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the party in the recreation room at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, New York on August 11, 1973 hosted by DJ Kool Herc, we decided to curate a top 40 list. Many people view this as the beginning of contemporary Hip-Hop although the phrase (Hip-Hop) wasn’t used to capture the elements of the budding culture until Afrika Bambaataa in 1974. We didn’t want to curate a typical top 40 list based on sales or the pontificating that has become customary when individuals create lists of the top MCs in the game at a moment or in history. We decided that we would create an objective approach to curate a subjective list of the top 40 songs in the history of Hip-Hop based on educational value. There was a clear distinction between educational value and educational content. The determination of educational value was determined more by the ability of the educator as well as the content of the song. To determine educational content would have required a set of educational standards to serve as the benchmark of the content and this probably would have garnered a very short list.

The plan was to have the chat on Tuesday July 30, 2013 serve as the opportunity for the #HipHopEd community to present songs that they believed should be on the list. The time period where we would count suggestions was from 9:00 pm EST on Tuesday July 30, 2013 until 9:00 am EST on Wednesday July 31, 2013. The weekly #HipHopEd chats only last an hour but we have a growing group of Hip-Hop Educators in the United Kingdom who are fours ahead of our time zone, and we wanted to give them a chance to participate without having to stay up in the middle of the night. The tweets that we counted included the hash tags #HipHopEd and #T40S (Top 40 Songs). We would capture the full 12 hours of tweets and count each song that was mentioned. Once a song was tweeted we also counted the amount of times the tweet was retweeted (RT) and or made a favorite (FAV). If there were two songs that had the same number of total votes the order they would be placed on the list was at the discretion of the leadership team of #HipHopEd. The chat scheduled for Tuesday August 6, 2013 would be where the top songs would be revealed in groups of 10 and in 15 minute intervals. The 15 minute intervals will provide a window for each list of 10 songs to be discussed and or debated.

The chat that took place on July 30th was amazing because the participation level was so high that we trended on Twitter well beyond the regular length of our chat which is an hour. The participants were of various ages from teenagers to individuals in their 40s and beyond. The participants were educators, students, artists and fans. The subjective determination of “educational value” was presented in ways that to some were easily accepted and in other instances, not so much based on the lack of RTs and FAVs. The chat was captured on Chirpstory Chipstory is a website that allows you to search tweets using a particular hash tag and then gather them so they flow like a story. Once the Chirpstory is complete the link can be shared and viewed by anyone in our #HipHopEd community and beyond. The Chirpstory also serves as a great reference tool which allows us to go back and review past chats and assess the impact of the chat based on the times the story has been viewed.

During week between July 30th and August 6th we sifted through all the data that we collected and we put together the top 40 song list. We had to make an executive decision on song number 40 because there were 3 songs remaining with the same number of votes for the final slot. Outside of this executive decision the list shaped out to clearly represent the songs that were tweeted with accompanying RTs and or FAVs during the voting period. The songs on the list represented a wide spectrum of Hip-Hop based on the years that the songs were released. Ten percent (4 songs) that made the top 40 came from artists that were independent and Fifteen percent (6 songs) came from the ladies and another song featured a lady on the chorus. The educational value of the songs ranged from the song’s significance in the history of Hip-Hop, the subject matter addressed in the song and the structure of the song.

The true educational value of the #T40S will be measured on what educators and individuals do with the list. This chart is being used around the country as a tool to ask critical questions of youth and adults using the lens that Hip-Hop provides to discuss the issues of life that often times we find difficult to discuss. This chart is full of introspect, anger, warnings and challenges for us as a community. Here are the links to the four lists that were released during the #HipHopEd chat on Tuesday August 6, 2013.
1. Songs 40-31:
2. Songs 30-21:
3. Songs 20-11:
4. Songs 10-1:

To review past #HipHopEd chats please go to http://www.chirpstory/id/