Hip-hop and academia can mix

When you think of hip-hop, you think of the vulgar music that sometimes doesn’t have any meaning other than sex, drugs and violence. But what if this music could be used in academia to teach a college course such as English? Would it work?

Hip-hop music expresses more than just sex, drugs and violence. According to USA Today, in an article titled, “Georgia students study Kendrick Lamar for class,” it describes that at Georgia Regents University, one class is using Lamar’s album good kid, m.A.A.d city to teach a course.

According to the article, Adam Diehl, the instructor that is teaching this course, said that the reason why he chose this is because the album deals with social issues such as “gang violence, child-family development in a big city, drugs and the war on drugs, sex-slavery, human trafficking and a lot of issues that happen in the city of Compton, Calif.”

How can this be used in a college class? Well, for one, discussions in college courses usually tend to be about controversial or sensitive topics such as abortion, religion, domestic violence and many others.

The reason why hip-hop could be used to teach this is because a lot of hip-hop artists tend to target issues such as these.

For example, artist Lupe Fiasco always raps about controversial topics. Take for instance his song “Words I Never Said” from his album Lasers. 

Within the song, he describes how the government feeds and influences people into what the government wants them to think and know. In an English course, there could be a discussion on how the government has influenced society similar to talking about communism versus capitalism.

Then you got an artist like Eminem who writes about his struggles in life. Take the song “Stan” from The Marshal Mathers LP. For example, in an English class, you can dissect this song by figuring out the different rhyming schemes, metaphors and why he used this instead of that. Those types of things could be discussed in a classroom similar to having a discussion in the class about a book that the students need to read.

Or you can use the music from hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur, who in his music described the life of being a gang member, the struggles of everyday life in a poor neighborhood and many other topics. A class can discuss about this because you can talk about the different risks and struggles that a group of people go through; basically, taking that type of life into perspective and discussing on why they do such things.

Hip-hop music can be used in academia. It is more than just drugs, sex and violence. It is an art form that people can take into consideration and study like any type of literature.