Lupe Fiasco took a break from lyrically schooling his rap peers to teach collegians the inner-workings of rhyme.
The Chicago native recently shared footage of him teaching his new “Rap Theory & Practice” class at MIT in Massachusetts. As part of the course, which is described as “an exploration into the underlying fundamental functions, structures, and principles of rap,” Fiasco decodes and breaks down lyrics from renowned emcees Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and himself.
“Lupe Fiasco presents ‘Rap Theory & Practice: an Introduction,’” the 40-year-old wrote in a tweet he posted alongside the clip. “CMS.S60 Rap Theory & Practice now available for 2023 Spring semester registration.”
Songs that Lupe examined during the class included Eminem’s “Stan,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst” and his own track “Jonylah Forever,” from his 2018 release DROGAS Wave. The course, which took place for over two hours, included a myriad of rap-centric topics such as “Evolution & Rap Mechanics,” “Teaching Rap and Rap Technology,” “Merging Rap and Institutions,” “Fundamental Laws of Rap,” and “Makings of a Rap Grandmaster.”
The Grammy Award-winning rapper’s stint at MIT was announced in May, when he was appointed as an MLK Visiting Professor at the institute after being deemed an expert in arts and humanities. Fiasco shared his excitement for the opportunity to mold his own curriculum by fusing education with his passion. “I been holding this for a while,” the “Superstar” rapper wrote at the time.
“I’ll put together something more sophisticated later that really captures the nuance and gravity but for now I’ll just say it straight and raw: I’m going to teach Rap at MIT.” He continued, adding, “Syllabus isn’t built yet but I’m thinking its fruit to be had in looking at neuromorphic computation through the lens of Rap as a lossless data compression model with a dash of energy efficiency via refining Landauer’s principle applied to cytoarchitectonics. And some rapping…”
The hitmaker’s MIT class is not his first foray into the world of academia. In 2014, Lupe was recognized as a Henry Crown Fellow by the Aspen Institute and is also a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
In June, he released his eight studio album, Drill Music In Zion, which included features from Nayirah and Ayesha Jaco. His 2007 release, The Cool, was recently certified platinum by the RIAA.