Students at Atlanta’s Georgia Institute of Technology can now study Grammy winners OutKast as well as other Southern standouts like Goodie Mob, UGK, Eightball & MJG, T.I., Jeezy, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, Future, Migos, 21 Savage, and Lil Yachty.
“It’s a course that uses new metaphors for exploring contemporary rap music,” professor Dr. Joycelyn Wilson relayed to HipHopDX. “One of my metaphors is ‘The Outkast Imagination’ and the other metaphor is ‘trap.’ Both allow us to broaden and deepen our understandings of the music within a larger tradition of cultural expression.”
“The Outkast Imagination” is also the name of Wilson’s TEDx lecture which covers the benefits of using Hip Hop in the classroom.
For some observers, the “Exploring the Lyrics of Outkast and Trap Music to Explore Politics of Social Justice” class at Georgia Tech using Trap music – which tends to focus on drugs, street life, and violence – as an educational device may seem counterproductive.
Wilson explained why she believes the rap subgenre is a valuable tool for her objective of educating her students.
“Studying Hip Hop, particularly from the Atlanta perspective, we are able to explore trap as an ideology of self-determination, social justice, and civic engagement. They are the next generation of STEM leaders,” she stated. “My hope is they can take these basic principles and fundamental truths and apply them to their work-life after graduation. That’s the overarching goal, aim and mission of the course. Hip Hop is therefore the metaphor we use to examine the pedagogical implications of the music.”
The course presents information about non-southern rappers like 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West, Nas, N.W.A, Public Enemy, Nicki Minaj, Lil Kim, and Lauryn Hill as well.
Wilson is also serves as director of the Four Four Beat Project.