Long Island University Offering First Hip-Hop Class
It's a trend sweeping the nation: Universities and colleges are offering classes on hip-hip history and performance. The latest campus to catch the beat is Long Island University, which has a new course entitled 'Hip-Hop and Spoken Word.' According to the Daily News, the curriculum will consist of a wide range of topics and touch on everything from hip-hop's African and New York roots to contemporary beefs between stars like Lil' Kim and Nicki Minaj.
Professor Bryonn Bain explains the idea behind the class is to demonstrate the importance of iconic hip-hop artists like Tupac while placing them next to some of the biggest poets in history. "It's as important to study [1960s Black Nationalist rap group] The Last Poets and Tupac Shakur as it is to study Shelley and Shakespeare," said the Brooklyn-bred Bain in a recent interview.
Notably, one of the big aspects of the course is performance. Bain opened his first lecture in January with a performance of his poem 'Temple Worship' and then assigned students to work on a piece that will be performed on a subway platform before the end of the semester.
"Language is powerful," he concluded. "I want to engage young poets, writers and thinkers about the verse of our time -- both celebrating it and looking at it critically."
Other hip-hop artists that have taken to college campuses include Swizz Beatz, who was named Producer-in-Residence at New York University; 9th Wonder, who taught at Duke University; and Bun B who taught a Hip-Hop and Religion course at Texas' Rice University. Most recently, a University of California - Berkeley professor made headlines when he cited rapper Lil B in his lecture.