Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
As some may know, UGK‘s Bun B was recently tapped by Rice University to teach a class on Hip Hop & Religion. Earlier this year, superproducer 9th Wonder was hired to teach History at Duke University. & just this week, Houston rap dude Z-Ro was lined up for a gig at Houston Community College to speak on Hip Hop history. [Sidenote: Notice no english, science, or math courses. Not a judgment, though, just an observation.]
I think it’s awesome that these establishments are giving such an outlet to rappers. Really though, I know, first hand, the frustrations of staying inside the proverbial rap lines when being creative. Believe that even the illest rapper would have a hard time making a tolerable song about friendly dragons or teaching his/her daughter to read analog time. Even if the illest producer, ever, put the track together. Honestly, half of these so-called rappers are just in this for the payload, like nymphomaniac millionaires with prostitute fetishes. But, the other half I believe to be creative spirits, bound only by the audience. & since the audience pays the “bills,” I can understand how overground appeal is the new underground angst. Nonetheless, standing in front of a crowd is all the same experience. [Sidenote: Yes, I’ve done shows before.] It’s the content that changes. & maybe the delivery, depending. (If you smell my cologne…)
All that said, I’m not too sure I’d want to spend more than one session listening to rappers, or most motherfuckers-for that matter, espouse rhetorical theories about anything more than what I
download pay for. Especially religion. That’s a hot-button with people that have degrees in Theology (my mom being one of those people). Much less with someone who, for the most part, makes music about shallow things.
As far as a rapper teaching a history class, I’ll say this much; anybody “teaching” me history is probaby in the some misinformed boat as me. I don’t shoot messengers, anyway.
Let me be clear; I’m not against the idea of outsiders taking advantage of specific facets of the culture. That’s nothing new. I’m just saying. This isn’t ‘Real-Life Karaoke,’ where the best career impersonation wins body shots of patron on the body of their choice. This is school, an institution parents bust their asses to one day enroll their children in, under the guise of obtaining a finalizing education. Save the “guest appearances” for DJ Clue or somebody. Or, at least make the visit rap-related, in terms of a music/arts/performance class project. I’m pretty sure most of the students in these classes & all of their paying guardians would concur. & look, if I wanted to hear arbitrary Jesus talk from a rap star, I could just as easily follow Rev Run on Twitter. & he doesn’t charge per unit. Pause.
For the record, though, if any rapscallion can pull off a cross between common sense logic & charisma & make the audience feel enlightened, it’s Bun B. Clearly he’s mastered the art of public speaking. His case may possibly be the exception to the others; past, present & most likely, future. Even if KRS-One gets an entire floor to himself & Hip Hop at Eastside High.