Last night I was visiting one of my favorite websites, BlackElectorate.com when I saw an article that grabbed my attention. Apparently, Michael Eric Dyson, author, television political/social pundit and college professor is teaching a sociology course at Georgetown University about the social and cultural significance of Jay-Z’s music and career. Of course, when I heard about this I literally fell out of my chair. It’s quite remarkable to see just how far Hip-Hop music and culture has come. For much of its history, Hip-Hop has gotten very little respect but now it’s being studied in the halls of higher education.
Jay is not the first MC to have his work critically analyzed and lectured in universities (I heard about courses being taught about Tupac), but clearly Jay has reached a level not seen by any other MC and his music is arguably the most deserving of dissection by Dyson at Georgetown University. I’m a fan of Dyson. I’ve read a few of his books (I’m a big fan of Marvin Gaye and Dyson wrote a book about the legendary soul singer’s life).
Dyson is critical but also very fond of Hip-Hop culture. He’s often in the media defending Hip-Hop from the critics and educating the mainstream about the genius within the culture. I have a lot of respect for him and his work. He’s probably most qualified professor in the world to teach a course about Jay-Z. But, if there’s a course about Jay-Z’s music and career being taught anywhere in the world, my question is: Why isn’t ‘The Book of Hov’ on the required reading list?
Jay-Z’s Decoded, Greenburg’s Empire State of Mind and Bradley’s Book of Rhymes are on the required reading list for students taking Dyson’s course. I read Jay-Z’s and Greenburg’s books and they both are excellent. I’m sure Bradley’s book is a good read. With that said, I hate to do a ‘shameless plug’,