A challenge in teaching English composition is helping students envision plagiarism as “borrowing” – showing love to author(s) and/or text(s) that further their argument(s), versus “stealing” – biting someone’s style and words. Alastair Pennycook (1996) and Sarah Wakefield (2006) have contributed pieces to the elaborate plagiarism/citation puzzle, while Houston Baker situated the hip-hop DJ in seminal text Black Studies, Rap and the Academy (1993). Merging these moments introduces critical questions: Did Diddy invent “the remix” or become the illest beat-biter ever? How did DJ/Producers Pete Rock and Large Professor pay homage to previous musical genres to further hip-hop remix production without just taking 4-8 bar samples, copying sources and claiming unethical ownership? And how can this discussion provide students a window into citation conversations? This article will remix these “texts” to introduce the idea of DJ Rhetoric to discuss plagiarism. Through the lens of the hip-hop DJ in writing classrooms, one can foster an appreciation of the difference between “love and theft” in student citation. This article will couple examples from hip-hop music/culture while simultaneously remixing interviews from various hip-hop DJ/producers to help answer these difficult questions.
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