Hip Hop, as you may already know, is a multibillion dollar per year industry. This means that the elements of Hip Hop Kulture have created ways for hundreds of thousands of individuals to derive income from their use. This is real wealth for some and an honest living for others. Just like other forms of entertainment and cultural expressions, Hip Hop is now a Worldwide commodity that can put food on the table, so to speak. Learning how to operate in this new economy of hip-hop products, is not just an art, but also a science. In fact, it is the sort of science that can be studied and taught to others as part of a new experimental course at Essex County College in Newark, NJ.
The new course is part of a 5 year process headed up by my partner in True School University, Hip Hop scholar, Jah Jah Shakur. While Jah Jah worked in the African Studies department at ECC, we discussed at length, the intricacies of the expanding hip-hop product market and the need for a business based curriculum that addressed it. How did the market evolve? How can it be maintained and utilized to the benefit of the average participant? We often joked about how rappers love to talk about money, but never seem to talk about business. Hip Hop as a culture, is an almost unparalleled success, in its growth from local neighborhoods to the international stage, just by how it transformed the lives of so many, unschooled participants from humble beginnings. If harnessed correctly, Hip Hop elements can be used to educate the masses who embrace the culture, on the standards and practices needed to succeed in the modern business environment.
On its own, Hip Hop as a method of visual, ideological and auditory communication, exists as a rich market to tap in to. If the unschooled participant can utilize the field to gain income and prosper, so too can the educated individual who sets their mind to the task. This is what the Hip Hop Business course represents. With the help of noted attorney, King Downing as the instructor for the course, Hip Hop Business 101 may be able to go from an experimental procedure to a full blown major course of study. From the enthusiasm of students on the first day study session, cypher, I can say as an eyewitness, that the interest is very high.
Any online classes available?
Not yet but we’re working on it. Stay tuned.
At McNally Smith College in St. Paul, Minnesota, you may have to endure some pretty harsh winters, but you can actually get a diploma in hip-hop . They offer a three semester course that includes classes in production, performance and the business side of things. They introduced the program in 2009 and it’s the first of its kind. The program is coordinated by Toki Wright from Rhymesayers , and the staff includes people who have real experience in the business.
The class at ECC is a business class that addresses the business concerns of the Hip Hop Kulture as opposed to the business of entertainment. Most of the Hip Hop classes on hand deal with it strictly from a musical production side rather than a cultural commodity that transcends performing. The Hiphop consciousness is one lived by people who work outside of entertainment in areas like advertising for instance. How could one use Hiphop consciousness to market products is addressed in this course.