Toronto university will offer course on Drake, The Weeknd

"Deconstructing Drake and The Weeknd" at X University will explore the careers of two of Toronto's most successful artists.

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X University in Toronto is launching a course early next year that explores the careers and impact of two of the city’s biggest artists, Drake and The Weeknd

Writer and podcaster Dalton Higgins is set to teach the class, titled, “Deconstructing Drake and The Weeknd.” According to NowToronto, it will be part of a Selected Topics in Media course, which features topics that change annually. 

Higgins is a music professor in residence at the Creative School who noted his class is part of a movement injecting hip-hop into academic pedagogy. 

“On the U.S. college and university scene, there are all kinds of courses being taught about rock, folk, pop artists like Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen – so why shouldn’t there be a course about Drake and the Weeknd right here in Toronto?” Higgins asks NowToronto

X University in Toronto is launching a course early next year that explores the careers and impact of two of the Canadian city’s biggest artists, Drake (left) and The Weeknd (right). (Photos: Rich Fury/Getty Images for dcp)

“On American college campuses, there are easily more than 300 hip-hop courses being taught about artists like Jay Z, Outkast, Beyoncé,” he maintained. “Many Ivy League universities, including Harvard and Cornell, have fully embraced hip-hop education, so we can do the same here.”

According to Higgins — author of the 2012 book about Drake called Far From Over — his class will also explore the greater Toronto music scene.

“When you have two Black artists born and bred in Toronto who perform rap, R&B, and pop, and who are arguably well on their way to becoming billionaires at some point in time, there is apparently a lot to learn,” he said, asserting that both men achieved success despite a local culture that does very little to support Black artists. 

“Are they doing things a little differently?” Higgins queried. “What’s their business acumen and entrepreneurial zest like? Did race, gender, class, faith play into any of this?”

In the “Deconstructing Drake and The Weeknd” class, Higgins said, he and the students will “peel back the layers on some of that [too]. My expectation is that students will ask tough questions about their music, race, class, subject matter, music production, lyrics.”

Higgins shared more information about it on his Instagram nearly a week ago, where he wrote, “Nevertheless, it’s time to get our Canadian rap & R&B icons recognized & canonized academically or otherwise. And it is CRITICAL for scholars, historians, to examine the Toronto music scene that birthed Drake/Weeknd and helped create the conditions for them to become mega-successful.” 

X University was formerly known as Ryerson University, but it adapted the X as a placeholder until it is renamed. Egerton Ryerson was a Canadian educator and minister whose beliefs are credited with creating the residential school system, which displaced thousands of indigenous people in the early 1900s.

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