Hip Hop Architecture

Hip Hop Architecture.Build It Up!

The Hip Hop Architecture Camp uses real world architecture skills and sociological study to design, plan and map a new vision for the community or contribute to creative peacemaking initiatives. Over the course of four Saturdays in Madison, 50+ camp participants were afforded the chance to build physical models of an ideal community based on an evaluation of their immediate environments and the design solutions proposed during the camp. 

The camp was created by The Hip Hop Architect, Mike Ford, and brought to fruition with many partners, including the hard work, connections and skills pouring out of Rob Dz and Michael Dando. With the mission to introduce traditionally marginalized or underrepresented youth to architecture, urban planning and economic development through the lens of Hip Hop culture, the initiative allows students and community members to engage in re-mixing the visions for their communities and neighborhoods in ways that are culturally relevant, sustaining, and responsive. Planners from the City of Madison are using the content from the camp to inform the "people power planning" of Imagine Madison.

The camp has future dates in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and more.

an anthem



While attending the Hip Hop Architecture Camp, a subset of six teens worked with local hip-hop and spoken word artist Rob Dz to write and record the song "Build It Up" by blending the major conversations points from the camp with their own experiences and opinions. Special thanks to Bradley "DLO" Thomas for supplying the beat to which we bob our heads.

The the creative team at MOD Media used the architecture of Central Library as the backdrop to shoot the "Build It Up" video, the first music video released from The Hip Hop Architecture Camp.

Music Video [MOD Media / Rob Dz]




Then MOD Media used all of their footage to put together a documentary about the goals and takeaways of the 4-day camp.

Documentary [MOD Media]



BUILD IT UP lyrics

Verse 1: 

In my city we are poverty stricken, 
poverty ridden, too little property gettin, 
so with good properly writens, 
talk about those who beggin with cups, 
who ain't seen much, 
cuz people walk around with they noses up, 
Dimes for the hard times but still no change, 
it makes no sense (cents), 
like why our people sleepin in tents? 
Quick to say "you get a job" but hard to say without a coat, 
money ain't what make you broke, Know people still have hope. 

Verse 2: 

I’ve seen the warnings of Global warming 
Oceans risings, Birds are swarming 
(huh) it’s way past ignoring 
a giant Hurricane is gonna knock out your snoring 
you like to close your ear to the lessons because they boring 
rather spend your buying desinger 
but let me give you a kinder reminder 
if you we don’t start a mission 
to cut down carbon emissions 
there may not be a world to live in 
it’s that simple 
I hope that ain’t too hard on the temple 

Verse 3: 

In an 
Not so 
Outta get toned down for my little friends here in Madison 
Pedallin' through the hood on they two wheeled carriges 
No matter where it is 
They ain't gotta be seein things that be scarin' them 
Steering them in a direction of fear 
Nobody wants a face of tears 
or their child to hear the bang from live action 
Near they home 
So please 
Let the hate go 
and fly like the birds 
Right out your window 

Verse 4: 

Kids these days seeing minorities forcefully being conftonted by authorities, 
They lock up breadwinners then tell the mothers you cant abort it see,
How we supposed so be equal people, 
If politics start at the steeple, 
Cuz money aint the root of all evil, 
Its the corrupt thats deceitful, 
Claim to be equal for all, 
But how we supposed to be if the border begins at the wall, 
Im just sayin so yall, 
Know that corporations and pipelines, 
Dont even have the right mind, 
Set of its citizens, 
Worried about counting their dividends, 
Hope that yall listening, 

Verse 5 

Ayo forget about the best I progress advancing for better, 
To get ahead in every tread you’re wasting bread to be a bettor, 
No freshmen I get my varsity sweater our city’s cold get a sweater, 
How people broke up in the state of the cheddar, 
Ay put that coke in a melter maybe a cloak in a shelter, 
Pray for obesity but homie get your weight up from welter, 
The bubbler bubbles like seltzer with this heat I only get blacker, 
No bae but pray we get pay with the green like we was the packers, I’m gone.

When Mike Ford approached the public library as a partner for his Hip Hop Architecture idea, fortunately the resources and platform were already in place due to other Bubbler teen music projects such as the following.


  Media Academy

Madison Public Library Bubbler Media Academy


  Classroom Mixtapes

social justice mixtape


  Rap Sessh