Education

NCCU students line up for 'History of Hip-Hop' class taught by Jay-Z producer

Posted November 8, 2017 10:15 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 9:55 a.m. EDT

— It’s an atypical college class with a famous instructor. That’s what has students at NC Central waiting in line to sign up for the “History of Hip-Hop” class taught by music producer Patrick Douthit.

Douthit, who is better known in the industry as “9th Wonder,” has produced songs for Jay-Z and Beyonce. He won a Grammy for his work with Mary J. Blige.

“Looking at the list of the Jay Z’s and the Destiny’s Childs and Kendrick Lamars, it’s a heavy list,” said Douthit who was a student at NC Central in the 90s. He has been teaching the “History of Hip-Hop” class since 2015.

“It’s just a way to reach this generation,” said Douhthit. “This generation speaks in a certain language that the generations before it did not. Hip-Hop is now a 44-year old art form.”

And it’s now the most popular genre of music in the United States, passing Rock and Roll for the top spot this summer. It is music people like and it’s a starting point for deeper conversation on the Durham Campus.

“It’s not a structured class,” said NCCU student Damon Westray. “It doesn’t just teach you about Hip-Hop. It teaches you about how Hip-Hop played a role in things like the bus boycott, segregation, the Black Lives Matter movements.”

Westray, who said he rates the class an “11” on a scale from 1-10, did his final project on Hip-Hop artist “Little Kim” and what she did to pave the way for females in the industry.

“She created a new style of hip-hop for women so they could feel more comfortable rapping,” he said.

The class is NC Central’s first step in creating “Hip-Hop Central” which includes plans for a library database consisting of books and articles for research. There are also plans to create a studio and an annual conference to discuss hip-hop education, entrepreneurship and marketing.
“Hip-Hop speaks to what happens in America,” said Douthit. “It may speak on a said of America you may not be privy to, but they need a voice as well.”