Jay-Z’s Lyrics Get Decoded In Georgetown University Course


Jay-Z with Decoded

For years hip-hop aficionados have tried to decipher the meaning of Jay-Z’s lyrics. Last year, the hip-hop mogul gave further insight to fans via his New York Times best seller, “Decoded”. Now, author and Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson is courting controversy by exploring the social commentary found in the rapper’s lyrics in his class titled “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z.” Yes, “Decoded” is required reading.

While the class has been met with favorable impressions by faculty and staff, it does have its detractors as reported by the New York Daily News :

While the chairman of Georgetown’s sociology department defends the class, outraged students like junior Stephen Wu have called it “poppycock” and said serious scholars should be delving into Homer not Shawn Carter (Jay-Z’s real name).

“The great bard inclines toward the divine; he brings to light much of the character of human nature and puts man in communion with higher things,” Wu sniffed in the Georgetown campus newspaper, The Hoya. “Rap music frolics in the gutter, resplendent in vulgarity and the most crass of man’s wants.”

Georgetown is not the first college to have a class devoted to more urban leanings and hip-hop culture. Harvard and UC Berkely have offered classes on HBO’s “The Wire,” while Grammy Award winning DJ and producer 9th Wonder co-taught a class entitled “Sampling Soul” which included a module on Nas’ “Illmatic.”

MSDTV wants to know your opinion; do these classes provide food for thought or food for fodder?