Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hip Hop Artist, MBA, MPA

We don't often hear of hip-hop artists with advanced degrees, but that phenomenon is becoming slightly more regular. We've read a lot about hip-hop artists taking college classes, earning college degrees, and even speaking and performing at colleges. The next logical step would of course be to get a Masters degree. What hip-hop artist wouldn't be a compelling student in an M.A. in sociology, cultural studies, or even political science program? The experience artists have with culture, travel, and business likely rivals some more traditional graduate students and even the teachers in those graduate programs.

Here's a brief list of hip-hop community members who have dabbled in if not successfully completed graduate education, with a brief look at the dues they've paid:

Sicari: Sicari Ware is a Detroit artist most closely associate with D-12 (Eminem's conglomerate). He's an experienced DJ and successful-break dancer. Education: M.P.A. completed at Kentucky State University.

E-PROPS: A Haitian-American hip-hop up-and-comer born in Brooklyn. Also and independent scholar with an interest in cultural theory. Education: Masters in political science completed at Brooklyn College.

Mick Boogie: By far the most famous member of this list (that I'm aware of). Mick Boogie is the unofficial Mixtape King. He's worked with everyone from Jay-Z to Talib Kweli. Education: Masters in marketing from John Carrol University.

DJ Shy: Popular Korean-American DJ in the LA area, unfortunately better know by the masses as a sex symbol than as an important feminist voice in the male-dominated DJ industry. Education: Masters in Heath Administration from University of Southern California.

David Banner: Popular southern rapper with a strong educational background. He's also an actor. Banner testified before Congress on African America Stereotypes in the Media. Education: M.Ed. from University of Maryland (although sources are conflicting, he either is one course short or is a class and a thesis short from earning the degree).

Other updates to the list? What is graduate education's place in hip-hop? How do degrees impact street cred?

-- Nick J. Sciullo


  1. Tracey Lee (who dropped the album "Many Facez" back in the 1990s) now has a J.D.

    Also, one of the most widely known examples among old school hip-hop heads is Roxanne Shante's Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell which she earned on her record label's dime.

    These artists earned their degrees AFTER reaching the peak of their careers (unlike the examples presented in the posting).

  2. Roxanne Shante didn't really get a Grad degree and How did you find out about me? I'm E-PROPS

  3. Mick Boogie could not be more famous than me in New York. I


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