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Rhythm and Poetry

Let’s Learn About Rap and Hip Hop Culture

This musical genre was born out of the block party scene of the 1970s, where DJs would experiment with mixing percussive tracks to keep the crowds energized and having fun. Rap and Hip Hop culture has been a powerful medium for political and social commentary, as well as influencing trends in music, dance, visual art, movies, and fashion. Join professional rapper and UMS teaching artist Jamall Bufford as he takes us on a journey of rhythm, rhymes, and reflection.

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Recommended For

Grades 6-12 (Ages 11-17)

Accompanying Presentation

View on Google Slides or download as a PDF


“Rap Up!” (PDF)
Rapping with Meaning (PDF)
Rhyming to Rap (PDF)

Audio Files

“Koool Aid” (MP3)
“Loser” (MP3)

About the Artist

Jamall BuffordIt’s not about keeping it real, or being true to the game – it’s about being true to Jamall Bufford. Seasoned mic veteran Jamall Bufford; also as Buff1, has a commanding presence on and off stage, which has earned him a die-hard fanbase. Whether rocking a party anthem, a political burner or a soulful banger, one thing is certain – Jamall Bufford consistently delivers.

Twenty years after Athletic Mic League (AML) came together as teenagers in Ann Arbor, MI, the men that filled out its roster spent over a decade perfecting their lyrical skills and writing, working out the most athletically trained stage performances and opening for hip-hop’s elite acts. AML shared the stage with Eminem, Mos Def, De La Soul, Slum Village, Jurassic 5, Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, Little Brother and Ghostface Killah to name a few, always capturing the attention and respect of the large, often cynical audiences. Following the underground success of, the other six members approached Bufford with a new plan: it was time to bring him to the forefront as a solo artist.

In 2007, Bufford officially became a respected solo act with the release of his critically acclaimed debut Pure. Real Detroit Weekly crowned Bufford “Best Solo Rap Artist of 2007.” Bufford has since gone on to join forces with The Black Opera, Rap’s first performing arts group. The Black Opera has toured the world and released 5 studio albums. When they’re not focusing on music, they’re leading youth workshops on writing, recording, performing, and hip hop culture. Bufford has also recently taken on the leadership role of Washtenaw County’s My Brother’s Keeper chapter as Project Specialist.


Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
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