I have to admit, I am a Jay-Z fan! After reading his book “Decoded”, I became an even bigger fan of his music. I can appreciate Dr. Dyson’s class because it digs beneath the surface to discover the intricate nature of rap music. Superficial and glib at fist listen, packed with meaning if you listen a little carefully.
Such a global force as rap music should indeed be studied. It has become a global language and has been one of of America’s biggest cultural exports. I witnessed this first hand when I attended a conference in England in 2004. Many of the participants were from Easter European countries. I can recall one guy asking me if I knew 50 Cent or Eminem. I can recall another rapping a different Jay-Z verse every time I bumped into him between sessions. At first, I was offended. After a while, I realized he had honest intentions. Rap music or hip-hop was his way of connecting with me, one of two Black participants.
Rap isn’t perfect. It’s too misogynistic, materialistic, and dominated by third party corporate interest. However, there is no denying its impact. Kudos to Georgetown for recognizing this. I wish HBCU’s would embrace this sort of classes.
Delano D. Hunter