9th Wonder is transforming his alma mater
Producer 9th Wonder has been Professor 9th Wonder for quite a while, but he’s looking to expand his collegiate pursuits. The North Carolina-native is now planning to turn his alma mater into a hub of academic looks at hip-hop culture.
According to a new interview, the producer who — has worked on huge tracks from Kendrick Lamar and Jay Z — is hoping to turn North Carolina Central University into the site of a hip-hop database and a yearly conference on the study of hip-hop. Dubbed “Hip-Hop Central.” The project will also include a new recording studio at the university.
Wonder has been teaching music courses at North Carolina universities since 2010, when he took a position teaching a course on the history of civil rights era music at Duke. He currently teaches a history of hip-hop course at NCCU and he explained why the course is necessary in a recent sit-down with a local news station.
He told WRAL:
“It’s just the way to reach this generation. I think this generation speaks in a certain language that the generations before did not … Hip Hop is now a 44-year-old art form. Within it is life. It’s fashion. It’s journalism. It’s law. It’s definitely technology when it comes to deejaying and producing and recording and the things that we use.”
“Hip Hop speaks on what happens in America,” 9th added. “It may speak on a side of America that you may not be privy to. But they need a voice as well.”
The Grammy-winning producer has been teaching the course since 2015 and students told the local news that the course isn’t exactly rigid, diving into peripheral topics like how the music influenced various related movements.
“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.”
In the interview, 9th Wonder also explained how he landed on his producer name, how he got started in the music business, and his time at NCCU as a student.
Watch The Interview
9th Wonder is far from the only famous face in hip-hop to take on teaching. Questlove is a walking encyclopedia of music and The Roots drummer put that to good use by teaching a course on classic albums at New York University. Prof. Questlove explained his motivation to the blog NYU Local:
“You’re hoarding all this information, but have you taught someone that this is important? The mistake we made is that the potent magic of the music I listened to when I was growing up would just somehow transcend mankind through the ages, like throwing a stone in a lake and watching it ripple. Now I realize that we’re the ripple.
My goal is simply to teach 24 students how to enjoy music. There’s a wealth of knowledge and information on the internet and a lot of it is overwhelming and there’s too much to process. I just want to point out and say, ‘Hey, try door 36. Try door 513, that’s kind of cool’ then have them decide for themselves.”
Take a look at the video interview of 9th Wonder up top. What do you think? Is History of Hip-Hop and important course to have? Is North Carolina an appropriate place to try and host a hip-hop gathering? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to SHARE this article.