Michael Eric Dyson explains what it’s like teaching Hov 101.
As Hip Hop continues to expand, its reach finds its way into undergraduate classrooms.
One such classroom is Professor Michael Eric Dyson’s Georgetown course, SOCI-124-01 or “Sociology of Hip-Hop – Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z.”
“This class is about the politics, the culture, the racial dimensions, the class dimensions, the economic dimensions of Hip Hop culture seen through a figure like Jay-Z.”
Said Dyson an an interview with The Washington Post.
“This is not a class meant to sit around and go, ‘Oh man, those lyrics were dope,’ ” explains Dyson, who penned the book Know What I Mean? Reflections on Hip-Hop, which features an introduction from Jay-Z and an afterword from Nas. “We’re dealing with everything that’s important in a sociology class: race, gender, ethnicity, class, economic inequality, social injustice…. His body of work has proved to be powerful, effective and influential. And it’s time to wrestle with it.”
“I’m a tweener, man! I couldn’t march with Dr. King and them. And I’m too old to be a Hip Hopper,” added Dyson, who sees his role as bridging the gap between generations of music listeners that often don’t see eye-to-eye. “But I’ve been granted honorary status in each generation…. I see my tongue as a bridge over which ideas can travel back and forth.”