J. Griffith Rollefson
Griff (@cybergriff) is a hip hop scholar and jazz bassist who serves as Professor of Music at University College Cork. Griff leads CIPHER and is founding co-editor of the journal Global Hip Hop Studies (with Adam Haupt). His books are 2017’s Flip The Script: European Hip Hop and the Politics of Postcoloniality (winner of the Society for Ethnomusicology’s Ruth Stone Book Prize) and the new Critical Excess: Watch the Throne and the New Gilded Age. In addition to its musical power, Griff is interested in the mystical, metaphysical, and magical sides of hip hop knowledge. He specializes in European and North American hip hop and his all-time top-three favorite tracks are: Black Sheep’s “The Choice is Yours”, Lauryn Hill’s “Everything is Everything,” and Roots Manuva’s “Colossal Insight”.
Steve (@stevengamble_) is a self-described internet nerd and researcher of online hip hop. A lifelong fan of rap and metal (among other things), he wrote How Music Empowers: Listening to Modern Rap and Metal. He studied at the Universities of Surrey, Oxford, and Kingston (London) and left a leadership role at the popular music uni BIMM Institute, Brighton, to join the CIPHER project. Independently working on the MSCA postdoc Digital Flows, he offers important insights into issues such as online communities, listening habits, social media, hip hop production, platform economics, surveillance, and data analysis, plus he won’t stop sending us terrible memes.
0phelia is an underground hip hop MC, electronic music producer, improviser, poet, and educator known for her live performance quality. She has opened for and collaborated with a stream of national and international hip-hop artists since 1999 (Ice Cube, Tony Allen, Maverick Sabre, Sage Francis, Pharaohe Monch, De La Soul, and Ultramagnetic MCs among others). She has toured nationally and established meaningful creative bonds with hip hop artists all over Ireland. 0phelia has a Masters in music performance from C.I.T. Cork School of Music and has been facilitating youth expression through hip hop since 2007. 0phelia is fascinated by rhythm and freestyle, and is conducting research in ciphers across North America and Europe.
Maria FitzGerald Houlihan
As the CIPHER Research Support Officer at UCC, Maria keeps the project running smoothly. Maria has a First-Class Honours Degree in English and Geography and was UCC College Scholar in 2017. Her research interests are in ecocriticism and nature writing (particularly the eco-critical turn in Irish women’s poetry) as well as African American literature and postcolonial studies. Maria formerly worked with the European Commission in Brussels and international education.
Warrick is an ethnomusicologist with a primary interest in how racial and ethnic identities are expressed in hip hop and popular music. His multidisciplinary research draws on aspects of music analysis, anthropology, critical race theory, and sound studies. Originally from Cape Town, Warrick received his PhD in African and African American Studies from Harvard University, but began his graduate career as a clarinettist – shifting from Western Art performance to folk and contemporary genres – before deciding to just write about music instead. While not exactly a sneaker-head, Warrick does own a lot of high-tops.
Dave graduated in 2014 with honours degree in Physics from UCC, and in 2015 award hdip in Data Science and Analytics from CIT, where he achieved project of the year with his work on Detection of bullying on social media using machine learning. Before returning to academia as a mature student, he had an interesting work history, the latest being in carpentry for 5 years. His research interests include artificial intelligence and physics and, as part of his research in AI, he actively uses machine learning to compete in Kaggle competitions. His main area of research for the last number of years has been in Deep Learning, where he has developed methodology to compress neural networks, enabling their usage on Internet-of-Things devices, and also created a non-invasive Human Activity Recognition technique.