Reading, writing, rap? Jay-Z inspires college course

VIDEO - The record-setting rapper and hip-hop icon has become a business tycoon and best selling author. But now Jay-Z's street rhymes are being taught at one of America's top schools...

Reading, writing, rap? Jay-Z is leaving his mark on the classroom. The rap icon has inspired a college course at Georgetown. Race, gender, culture, things that would be covered in most sociology classes. The issues are examined in a way that uniquely appealed to college students.
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The record-setting rapper and hip-hop icon has become a business tycoon and best selling author. But now Jay-Z’s street rhymes are being taught at one of America’s top schools.

In the syllabus it’s called the “Sociology of Hip-Hop, the Odyssey of Jay-Z”. For 140 students twice a week it’s 90 minutes of head bouncing and dissecting.

“You have someone who perpetuates the same impediments imposed upon him,” says a student taking the class.

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Dr. Michael Eric Dyson has taught a hip-hop class for 15 years. Jay-Z gives him a fresh angle.

This is a way for kids to explore the big ideas in sociology.

Dyson uses Jay-Z’s memoir to break down lyrics but maintains a traditional classroom using guest speakers, articles, essays and exams.

Not surprising, the class is wildly popular.

Chelsea, another student enrolled in the class says, “Being somebody who grew up with second chances I’m allowed to explore.”

Learning at Georgetown isn’t cheap. Tuition costs are among the highest in the country. Some students say their parents wonder whether the class is worth it.

We are paying so much for this. We want you to take classes that will get you a great job.

It’s not just skeptical parents. Critics knocked the class, in part because of Jay-Z’s occasional celebration of misogyny like this video for big pimping.

Within hip-hop we are pointing this out to ridicule it, criticize it, ask where it comes from.

Old school themes being taught in a new school way.

I want students to understand, look, learning doesn’t have to be boring. I’m trying to make it sexy.

I’m trying to learn about a society i have never been exposed to, probably never will be. It’s another way of thinking about things.

Jay-Z is currently touring the country. At the concert in D.C. he gave a shoutout to Dr. Dyson which gave him more street cred with his students.