Mumbai University to offer course in 'Hip Hop' for aspiring rappers
Students opting for the course will also get an opportunity to interact with professional rappers like Naezy, Divine and Raja Kumari. Professional rappers are all for the project
What started out as an underground cultural movement in the Bronx in New York City in the early 1970s, is set to make an unexpected entry into the University of Mumbai (MU) campus, thanks to two hip hop fans, who also happen to be professors.
Dr Sanjay Ranade, head of the department of communication and journalism and Yatindra Ingle, assistant professor of MU, have charted out a curriculum for aspiring rappers, for the coming academic year.
Ingle has been part of the hip hop scene as a rapper since 2005. "But over the years, I realised that hip hop is not a culture anymore; it is a language used by the youth to communicate. However, a lot of people still don't know what the genre is all about, where it originated from or ways to rap," he says, adding that the certificate course, Introduction to Hip Hop Studies, will engage students and change the underground rap scene.
The genre, which encapsulates art, music, dance, literature, politics, identity and style, caught every Indian's eye when Gully Boy released last month. But despite growing recognition, hip hop remains an understudied genre in musicology. "Budding rappers turn to YouTube to explore the genre. So, our attempt at hip hop pedagogy aims to help them understand the nuances of mainstream hip hop and conscious rap," Ingle says, adding, "At the end of the course, a student should be able to analyse the social and historical roots of hip hop, as well as the major debates over its practice around the world.
Through lectures that engage with theories of migration, race and gender, students will learn to think critically about the connections between urban degradation and street culture."
The brainchild of Ranade, the three-month course, which will cost R5,000, will begin in June. Ranade shares, "For the past few years, I have been watching fellows on campus doing rap and making videos. They keep sending me these clips and eventually, I got involved in this underground movement. I realised there is a huge rap scene, but nothing was being done academically do give these artistes the push they need. While they have the passion to take this art forward, they lack thorough knowledge in lyrics and rhyme."
If all goes well, the duo will propose to start a diploma and MA in hip hop studies in the coming years. The batch intake, as of now, is 20 students. They will also get an opportunity to interact with professional rappers like Naezy, Divine and Raja Kumari. Professional rappers are all for the project.
Naezy aka Naved Shaikh shares, "I would love to be a guest lecturer during the course. But I do feel that hip hop is not a genre that can be entirely learned in a closed classroom. It comes from within and your life experiences and the streets." MC Mawali aka Aklesh Sutar adds, "While this move is welcome, the varsity should make arrangements for students to interact with artistes like Akala and Kate Tempest. They have lots to share about rapping and correct grammar usage in this genre."
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