The Year the Wu-Tang Drops
by Adam Falkner
Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Workshop Title: Protect Ya Neck
Have your students discuss the music that they had to hide from their parents, teachers, & other adults out of fear of getting in trouble. Then have them discuss why that music would be deemed “inappropriate” by those people.
Now watch Adam Falkner’s “The Year the Wu-Tang Drops” with your students. When you’re done, discuss the myriad of ways a childhood Falkner reacted to their music, the different ways the music made him feel, and why he felt like he needed to hide his passion for their music.
Have the students write a poem, similar to “The Year the Wu-Tang Drops,” in which they discuss their relationship with an artist, group, etc. that was considered “forbidden” by the adults around them.
When the students are done, have them share their responses with the rest of the group. You may even want them to play (if appropriate) the song or artists they wrote about to give the class a bit of context to each student’s poem.
Area of Focus: Diction
If your students are not familiar with the concept of “diction,” go through the introductory lesson.
Watch the following music video by the Wu-Tang Clan. You don’t have to watch the whole thing, but when you’re done, ask the students how they think conservative, suburban white parents and adults would react to that song or style of music.
Now watch Adam Falkner’s “The Year the Wu-Tang Drops” with your students. When you’re done, discuss the myriad of ways a childhood Falkner reacted to their music, the different ways the music made him feel.
Have the students analyze the specific words he uses to convey his feelings toward the Wu-Tang Clan by grouping words that are conceptually or thematically similar to one another. The students may work in the following document. Directions are provided at the top of the page.
When the students are done, share their responses with one another. If time permits, share the exemplar essay with them.
- Children / Youth
- Figurative Language
- Selection of Detail