Patrick Rivers, Ph.D.

Patrick Rivers Headshot
Associate Professor
Coordinator, Music Industry

Music Department
College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Rivers will be on sabbatical during the 2024-25 academic year.

Ph.D., Graduate Center, CUNY, Ethnomusicology (2014), Interdisciplinary Certificate in Africana Studies - Dissertation: "The Mad Science of Hip-Hop: History, Technology, and Poetics of Hip-Hop’s Music, 1975–1991"

B.A., Hunter College/Macaulay Honors College, CUNY, Music (2006)

Research and Teaching Interests

I am an ethnomusicologist researching the objects and processes of recorded music and their subsequent impact on aesthetics and consumption. My broad academic interests are black popular music in the Americas and the intersections of music, media, and technology.

In my teaching practice, I aspire to reveal the interconnected social dynamics that have impacted the sound and emotional potency of music cultures from the United States, the Caribbean, and several areas around the world. I promote and teach an understanding of the musical components and structures that entice our ears and make our bodies move.

My teaching is a culturally responsive process that is equally performative, intellectual, and multimedia-driven. As an educator I consider myself to be a more experienced participant in the classroom tasked with facilitating an understanding of history, theories, and research with students. To effectively enact this approach, I use a variety of media and the capabilities of Internet-based learning environments to lecture students, enhance discussion, and extend the learning process beyond the classroom.

Academic Honors and Awards

Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation Career Enhancement Fellowship (2017)

Nominated: Barry S. Brook Dissertation Award (2015)

Mellon Mays Foundation Dissertation Completion Grant (2013–2014)

Dissertation Fellowship, The Graduate Center, CUNY (2012–2013)

Brady Education Foundation Grant (2012–2014)

Doctoral Research Grant, The Graduate Center, CUNY (2008 and 2010)

Presidential MAGNET Fellowship (The Graduate Center, CUNY, 2006–2011

Josef Turnau Memorial Prize (Hunter College, CUNY, 2006)

Macaulay Honors University Scholars Program (CUNY, 2002–2006)


Guy (1988) by Guy,” in 33 1/3: The B-Sides, eds. D. Gilson & Will Stockton. New York: Bloomsbury Press. Link.

"Noise Reconsidered: Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad as Hip-Hop Outlier," written with Will Fulton, in The Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Studies, edited by Justin Burton and Jason Oakes. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.

"Electro Hop," "DJing," ""King Tim III (Personality Jock),"" "New Jack Swing," and "Ultramagnetic M.C.’s" entries in the St. James Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Culture, 1st Edition, edited by Thomas Riggs. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, a Cengage Company, 2018.

Uptown Saturday Night, written with Will Fulton. 33 1/3 Series. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2017.

"Prince’s Last Decade," written with Will Fulton, American Music Review, (Fall 2016).

"From Starlight to Thriller: The Poetics of Michael Jackson’s Defining Recording," American Music Review, vol. 40, no. 1, Spring 2011: 8–9, 15.

"The Relativity of Mariah," a review of E=MC2, performed by Mariah Carey, in the CUNY Graduate Center Advocate, May 2008: 20.

"Still a Thriller, 25 Years Later," a review of Thriller 25, performed by Michael Jackson, in the CUNY Graduate Center Advocate, March 2008: 16.

"Must Be Hip to Feel the Hop: The Development of Hip Hop Rhythms," in Peace in Diversity, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship 4th Annual New York Regional Conference, edited by Margarite Fernández Olmos and Leah Squires. Brooklyn, NY: Brooklyn College MMUF Program, 2007: 37–43.

Academic Presentations

“The Music and the Machines: The SP-1200, the MPC, and the Evolution of Hip Hop Beat Making,” Lecture-Demonstration co-presented with Will Fulton, American Musicological Society/Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Lecture Series, Cleveland, Ohio, November 13, 2019.

“The MPC at 30: The Magic and Myth of Hip Hop’s Beat Machine, ” Lecture-Demonstration with Will Fulton, Show & Prove Hip Hop Studies Conference, University of California, Riverside, December 7–9, 2018.

“The Myth and the Magic of the MPC: 30 Years of Hip Hop Beat Making,” Lecture-Demonstration with Will Fulton, Society for American Music Conference, Kansas City, Missouri, February 28–March 4, 2018.

“The Thing About the New Jack Swing: The Shift in R&B's Engagement With Hip-Hop Aesthetics,” Society for American Music Conference, Elizabeth Town College, Boston, Massachusetts, March 9–13, 2016. Served as panel chair.

“Beat Education: Hip-Hop Technology Course at the University of New Haven,” Words, Beats, & Life Annual Teach-In: “Remixing the Art of Social Change, Washington D.C., November 12–14, 2015.

“Teaching Hip-Hop Beat Making: Hip-Hop Tech at the University of New Haven,” Paper-Demonstration with University of New Haven students Eric Robertson and Garrett Kuppelmeyer, Association for Popular Music Education, Sessions NYC, New York City, April 10, 2015.

“A Sonic Historiography of Early Sample-Based Hip-Hop Recordings,” Society for Ethnomusicology Conference, University of Pittsburgh, November 13–16, 2014. Served as panel chair.

““Bring That Beat Back”: The Development of Beat Making Techniques from Turntables to the Sampler,” Lecture-Demonstration with Will Fulton, Society for American Music 2014 Conference, Elizabeth Town College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, March 6–9, 2014.

“Rockin’ Without a Band: Hip-Hop Music’s Technological History,” The 8th Art of Record Production Conference, Université Laval, Québec,July 12–14, 2013.

“How Do You Get to Summer Jam?: A Prospective Musicianship for the Craft of Beat Making,” Show & Prove Hip Hop Studies Conference, New York University, March 30–April 1, 2012.

“Rumble in the Concrete Jungle: Beat Battles in NYC and Their Impact on Hip-Hop Production,” International Association for the Study of Popular Music – U.S. Branch 2012 Conference, New York University, March 22¬–25, 2012.

“Project Stretch: Technology, CUNY and the Public School Connection,” 10th Annual CUNY IT Conference, John Jay College, CUNY, December 1–2, 2011.

Professional Affiliations

Member of the Society for Ethnomusicology

Member of the Society for American Music

Member of the American Musicological Society

Member of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music–U.S.

Courses Taught
  • HNRS 4454 – Deconstructing American Music: Michael, Prince, and Madonna (Honors)
  • MUSC 1111 – Introduction to Music
  • MUSC 1112 – Introduction to World Music
  • MUSC 1116 – Groove Haven: University of New Haven R&B Revue
  • MUSC 2211 – History of Rock
  • MUSC 2212 – Hip Hop: Culture, History, and Music
  • MUSC 4416 – Advanced Performance/Research
  • MUSC 4451 – Race, Ethnicity & Music: Black Music in the Americas (Honors)
  • MUSC 4451 – Jazz History
  • MUSR 4451 – Special Topics: Hip Hop Technology

In the Media