The Poet & The Teacher: Hip Hop Classes I’d Like To See
So Dr. Michael Eric “I Use 100 Words When 1 Will Do” Dyson is teaching a class at Georgetown University on Jay-Z this semester. The class entitled “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z” focuses on the literary works and genius of our dear Mr. Carter. You know school is fun when Fade To Black is required viewing. (Not for nothing I think State Property could have an entire class in film school devoted to it.) Dyson is no stranger to the wonderful world of hip-hop having written popular yet terrible works on Tupac and Nas and even taught a class at UPenn onTupac. Seriously, Holler If You Hear Me might have been the biggest waste of words on Tupac ever.
Obviously, I’m no fan of Dyson and frankly think his books suck more a** than Jessica Grabbit. I’m also generally against the intellectualization of hip hop. Not because it doesn’t deserve it, but I tend to think that most of the books written about hip-hop by academics tend to be books written by fairly dissociated ninjas trying to sell hip-hop to a bunch of older white fogeys who would never give hip hop a real shot in hell anyway. No matter how much you focus on the poetry and inherent struggle present in SOME of the music, there’s no way to make “Laffy Taffy” an exercise in academia anyway.
But I would take any class on hip hop. Word.Booty. And I do think that people like Tupac and Jay are deserving of some sort of analysis given their accomplishments as people and the medium they chose to use. So despite the teacher, I’m glad these classes exist. And you know what? There are lots of other classes that I think would serve any student population well. Like what? Glad you asked.
Criminal Justice 104: Gucci Mane, DMX, and TI – Rapper Recidvism and the Prison Industrial Complex
This class would study the mentality of rappers who’ve made more money than they know what to do with but somehow cannot stay out of jail for sh*t. Specific blocks of the class would be based on probablity of Gucci Mane returning to jail every year (trick question: 100%) and why DMX seems to LIKE jail. Also, the stupidity of people with the world at their fingertips. See Harris, Clifford “Tip” Required Viewing: Tiny and Toya.
History 376 – The South Rose Again…But Not Like You Thought
This class would look at the South’s meteoric ascent to the top of the mainstream rap landscape with a specific focus on the loss of regionality in hip-hop with every song sounding like a Southern Anthem. New York’s yielding of power to the South would be examined to include an analysis of ASAP Rocky, a rapper from Harlem who seems like a Compton gangbanger who raps likes from Houston. Further discussion into the Southern backlash by northern rappers while making southern rap songs and going to Southern producers for their biggest hits. Required Viewing: MTV Jamz
Psychology 341 – Cam’Ron and DipSet: The Birth of A Nation
This class would look at the influence of The Diplomats on the psyche of America. Cam’ron’s ability to influence an entire nation of masculine dudes to wear pink and purple on purpose. It would also discuss influence of Harlem on hip-hop’s landscape and the DipSet influence in America specificaly from 2001-2006.Required Viewing: All DipSet videos and home video footage of American urban youth during those years
Business 402 – Independent Rap Labels and Trunk Muzik
Focus on No Limit, Rap-A-Lot, Suave House, and the rise of the indy rap labels that spawned a new business model for record companies. Required Viewing: Baller Blockin’, I’m Bout It, Foolish, Choices, Hot Boys
Sociology 119 – The Wire and You
An analysis of the reality versus the fantasy of The Wire and how the representation was a perfect mechanism for illustrating needs for certain social reforms in America’s urban centers. Required Viewing: The Wire…duh
Fashion and Design 224 – From Jansport To The Louis Vuitton Duffel Bag
The rise of the backpack as a fashion accessory of hip-hop artists. The travel bags omnipresent role in hip-hop. The origins of backpack rap and the profession to the to the Kanye West Louis Vuitton backpack accessories and dope boy LV duffel. Required Viewing: MTV Jamz/Sex And The City
Philosophy 843 – WTF is A Wacka Flocka Flame? The Genius and The Prophet
WWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACKAAAAA! ABCDEFGHIJK!!! FLOCKA FLOCKA!!!! WAAAAAAAACKA!!! The life and depth of the worst rapper ever to have 3 straight number one songs? Wacka Flocka – idiot or are we the dumb ones? Is Wacka really a genius? All these questions and more answered. Required Viewing: WorldStarHipHop
Those are some of my suggestions. Good people of VSB, show me what you got. What classes based on hip-hop do you think would be dope in academia??
Talk to me.
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka YUNG P DA FLY THIEF aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3