You might think you’re full of hip-hop knowledge, but have you found a way to prove it? You own all the right albums, spout off trivia facts that impress your friends, know Dr. Dre’s real name and can rattle off the tracks on every Run DMC record, but do you have any formal schooling? Finally, all that hip-hop knowledge your parents thought was useless can actually get you some college credits. There are several schools of higher learning that now offer courses in hip-hop. Instead of taking a handful of garbage electives to round out your schedule, you can sit or dance your way through a few of these classes and actually spend your time and money learning something worth knowing.
McNally Smith College: Hip-Hop Diploma
At McNally Smith College in St. Paul, Minnesota, you may have to endure some pretty harsh winters, but you can actually get a diploma in hip-hop. They offer a three semester course that includes classes in production, performance and the business side of things. They introduced the program in 2009 and it’s the first of its kind. The program is coordinated by Toki Wright from Rhymesayers, and the staff includes people who have real experience in the business.
Rice University: Bun B Teaches Hip-Hop And Religion
Rice University in Houston, Texas, teamed up with Bun B from UGK. Bun B guest-lectured a course about hip-hop and religion. “In this class, it gives them an opportunity to ask questions and go toward a deeper level of introspection with this not just being a hip-hop course but a religion in hip-hop course and being based out of the Humanities and Religious Studies department,” he said.
Berklee College of Music: Business of Hip-Hop/Urban Music Symposium
Every year for the last three years, Boston’s Berklee College of Music has been presenting a one-day symposium about the business of hip-hop. It’s open to the public and attendees get to hear words of wisdom from some of the industry’s biggest names (not a lot of artists, but a lot of people on the business side of things.) This year’s symposium focused on women in the industry and featured a panel full of rap’s most powerful ladies, such as Nina Packer, who manages talent like Nicki Minaj and Li’l Wayne.
College of Charleston: Hip-Hop: Evolution and Impact
If you’re interested in taking a class about hip-hop at a college that looks the least likely to offer a course in hip-hop, then the College of Charleston is for you! It’s a school located in the bucolic town of Charleston, South Carolina. The course offers “the history, content, legacy and controversy of the hip-hop music industry.” This one sounds like the most academic of all the courses we dug up. Probably a lot more reading than listening in this one, but regardless, you’ll get your learn on.
Georgetown University: Sociology of Hip-Hop—Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z
When you think about Jay-Z‘s rise to power, you probably don’t think of it as becoming the subject of a serious course taught at a prestigious school like Georgetown University. Now, Jay’s hard work has earned him a position as a living legend in the academic world. If people are studying you before you’re dead, you’ve clearly made an impact. The class will examine a lot more than just his lyrics–a lot of the sociological issues pertaining to Jay-Z’s climb will be discussed also. We’d definitely like to see the syllabus for this one.