There have been colleges and universities that have offered courses on the relationship between music and how it affects societal norms, but The University of Missouri is taking this a step further. This semester the university will be offering a class that looks to study the relationship between two of hip-hop’s heavyweights.
English students that participate in the class will look into the parallel careers of Jay Z and Kanye West from three parts: “(1) Where do they fit within, and how do they change, the history of hip-hop music?; (2) How is what they do similar to and different from what poets do?, and (3) How does their rise to both celebrity and corporate power alter what we understand as the American dream?”
As for the educational benefits of the course, professor Andrew Hoberek who will be teaching the course says:
“I really do think that these guys are warming up to the level of major poets, and not many people think of it in those terms. Because it’s not just on a page, but it’s video art, too. So, we looked at how those complicated the questions, and how do books about poetry help us to understand rap with Jay and Kanye at the forefront. We looked at the larger history of rap as an art form. Specifically, how, especially with Blueprint 3 and Yeezus, there’s an identifiable push to get beyond what’s happening in the art form. They’re very much like painters and novelists in the 20th century, moving beyond the confines of the art form’s boundaries.”