Nas Speaks On Hip-Hop Fellowship at Harvard University

Posted: January 15, 2014 by ericbernsen in Features, Interviews, Music, News
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Last summer, it was announced that “The Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship” would be created at Harvard University in order to fund artists and creative minds who have exceptional, passionate talent within the wide spectrum that is the culture of hip-hop. Marcyliena Morgan, professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard, is the founder and director of the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute, and they are taking the lead in the implementation of the Fellowship. In a recent video on Ammunitiongroup.com, the Fellowship was profiled in an interview that featured several figures such as Nas, Professor Morgan, and Professor Henry Louis Gates.

Considered as one of the best emcees in the history of hip-hop, Nas’ success represents the story a young man from the hardcore violent Queensbridge projects who used the power of music to express his knowledge, confidence, and ambition. He rose to the top of the rap game without sacrificing the substance of his art and, in turn, Nas has inspired and educated an entire generation. While many would scoff at the concept of a Hip-Hop fellowship on the ‘hallowed grounds’ of Harvard, Nas is fitting of the role and a living example that hip-hop music is much more meaningful than boasts of wealth or violence:

“A lot of people would think, ‘Oh, it’s just music, Oh, it’s too vulgar, it’s too this or that,’ but that music represents the world. That music represents our youth. So when you don’t pay attention to it, you kinda missing out on your youth. The same youth that you wanna protect, you need to understand them by understanding the music they listen to.”

The establishment of the Hip-Hop Fellowship further legitimizes the genre as a culture that has a massive impact on society, particularly in poverty stricken communities and inner cities around the world. Just as Rock N Roll and Jazz are studied in universities, Hip-Hop is starting to get its proper due and respect as a culture rich in history and a subject worthy of academic research. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates provided his thoughts in the interview about hip-hop and its cultural affects:

“I would think the takeaways from … Hip Hop would be the values of and the possibilities for entrepreneurship. I don’t think there’s been a period, a cultural movement, or an art form that so specifically nurtures and encourages people that are economically disenfranchised. The extension of the American Dream through economic freedom, ambition, individual will, through the model of Hip Hop, is certainly something that I hope will be stressed in its most positive way.”

With Harvard University being right in my backyard, personally I am extremely excited about Nas’ involvement in the program. While so many artists are solely concerned with dropping as much music as humanly possible in this digital age, it is important to realize how the documentation of the hip-hop culture is something not to be taken for granted. The creation of the Hip-Hop Fellowship further proves this notion and provides a location where people of all ages can learn about the culture, preserve it, and help in its continued growth.

You can watch the video that highlights the Hip-Hop Fellowship below and let us know what you think of the news!

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