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Hip-hop courses would offer FSC students a unique perspective on society

With every new semester, different colleges and universities are adding courses focusing on hip-hop, both as a musical genre and as a cultural force. Due to both the expanding number of hip-hop courses being offered, it is only right for Florida Southern College to consider adding similar courses to the curriculum.

These classes first started at Howard University in 1991 before expanding to colleges all across the country, even to some of the most prestigious schools in the country such as Harvard, Stanford, Duke and Princeton. Part of the reason these classes have been increasing has been due to a lot of the stigma being stripped away. During the 1990s when hip-hop first started reaching the mainstream culture, Tipper Gore, the wife of Vice President Al Gore, began a war with hip-hop for its usually explicit content.

However, with hip-hop becoming an increasing force in the mainstream, it has become a far more respected genre. Many music journalists compare  some of the incredible classic rap albums of the 1990s to classic rock. More and more, hip-hop is becoming something both children and their parents listen to.

Since its inception in the late 1970s and early 1980s, hip-hop has become a cultural and global phenomenon with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It recently unseated rock music to become the most popular genre in the world . Other genres such as classical, Caribbean music and others are explored in classes here at Florida Southern, and hip-hop should be treated no differently.

Secondly, hip-hop can be applied to numerous different aspects of education, not just music. Assistant Professor of Philosophy Dr. H.A. Nethery has been developing an idea for a hip-hop and philosophy class at Florida Southern.

“Hip-hop is a source of insight on what it means to be human, what it means to feel, what it means to exist, and rappers talk about this stuff,” Nethery said. “It’s just people are trained to miss it.”

Outside of strictly music classes, a few of the ways hip-hop can be added include the use of poetry in hip-hop for English courses, philosophy courses on some of the philosophies stated by rappers and sociology courses on hip-hop as a culture and how it has affected society.

“Anything that makes hip-hop into a source of insight and a real art form like it is, I think, is only going to do good for the culture, for the genre and for the students,” Nethery said.

In today’s current political climate, it is more important than ever to study hip-hop. Over the course of the genre’s history, from artists in the late 1980s such as N.W.A. and Public Enemy to more recent artists such as Kendrick Lamar, hip-hop consistently pushes the political climate and often asks questions other genres hesitate to ask about the socioeconomic and systematic issues that many deal with in this country.

Adding hip-hop to Florida Southern’s curriculum and ensuring the correct teachers are teaching these courses can only benefit the school’s academics. Several of the most highly regarded schools are applying the genre in a myriad of ways, and if Florida Southern wants to truly compete with them academically, it is only right that courses related to hip-hop are added for selection.

Related Links:

University of Arizona Introduces Nation’s First Hip-Hop Minor

Oneka LaBennett’s “Women in Hip Hop” ranked among Elle Magazine’s most compelling college classes

Outkast College Course To Be Taught In Georgia

Washington University Offers Full College Course on Kanye West


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons