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Jay-Z Course Being Taught at Georgetown University

Michael Buckner, Getty Images

The impact of Jay-Z and hip-hop on society at large is being taught at the prestigious ivy league institution of Georgetown University. Noted hip-hop intellectual and author Michael Eric Dyson is teaching a 3-credit course called ‘Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z,’ which has become one of the most-enrolled classes on campus.

Dyson believes that Jay-Z is the perfect subject matter to discuss and learn in an academic forum. “Well, obviously Jay-Z is one of the greatest entertainers of the world today,” he tells MTV. “Not only is he a remarkable rhetorical genius, he’s also a man of deep sympathy and empathy for those who are lost and vulnerable, but especially under-educated youth of all cultures and stripes.”

If you think you can get an easy A in this class, think again. The coursework is intense as it will cover Jay-Z’s lyric book ‘Decoded,’ Zack O’Malley Greenburg’s ‘Empire State of Mind,’ Adam Bradley’s ‘Book of Rhymes’ as well as several films and articles on hip-hop. “We look at [Jay-Z’s] incredible body of work, we look at his own understanding of his work, we look at others who reflect upon him, and then we ask the students to engage in critical analysis of Jay-Z himself,” Dyson explains about the curriculum.

Enrollment for the class was quickly filled up for the fall semester. The course’s popularity is a testament of the growing academic interest in hip-hop studies. “Well, you know if you have an average size class of 30-40, and then you got 140 students signed up that tells you right there there’s an extraordinary interest,” he said. “I think that’s why it’s important for young people to see that the rhetorical invention of African-American culture needs to be taken seriously with one of its greatest artist.”

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