Rapper Q-Tip To Teach Course on Jazz and Hip-Hop This Fall

Q-Tip will be teaching a fall 2018 course at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.

Rapper, musician and producer Q-Tip will join the faculty of the NYU Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at Tisch in fall 2018. The former member of jazz-rap group A Tribe Called Quest will teach a seven-class course looking into the social and historical connections between jazz and hip-hop alongside visiting Arts Professor Ashley Kahn.

“I couldn’t be more excited to share with the students what I know and I look forward to them also teaching me,” Q-Tip said in a press release. “Teaching is an exchange of sharing and receiving for all involved.”

Q-Tip currently serves as the artistic director of hip-hop at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and has worked with artists such as Jay-Z, Nas, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.

Clive Davis Institute Associate Professor Jason King said Q-Tip will be just the right fit for the job.


“In searching for instructors to teach in our program, our aim is to always bring top-flight working professionals to the classroom who have made a major impact in their fields,” King said. “That’s why we’re so excited to welcome Q-Tip, since he’s a peerless icon who redefined hip-hop for generations to come and brought jazz to the genre, especially through his contribution with A Tribe Called Quest. He also has a natural instinct for teaching and cultivating excellence in students in terms of their focus on craft and expressive style. It’s going to be transformative to have him on board.”

Professor Kahn likewise expressed his excitement to work with Q-Tip in the fall, having grown up during A Tribe Called Quest’s heyday.

“I’m someone who came up during the late ’80s and ’90s when hip-hop matured from party music to message music, and the music itself got more sophisticated and deep,” Kahn said in an email to WSN. “A Tribe Called Quest were the torch-bearers. Q-Tip had the rhymes and the loops and the messages for those days, and he’s still doing it, and generations have followed his example in their own ways. So for me, a lover of jazz and hip-hop, the chance to co-teach this course came [as] a surprise and an honor and a dream come true.”

The course will explore the historical relationship between the two genres, specifically focusing on revolutionary artists, such as The Roots, Lauryn Hill and Kendrick Lamar, who combined genres and pioneered innovative music techniques. It will also allow students to create their own music.

“In this course, students will be digging deep into understanding both musical traditions, their common African-American roots, the rich cultural environments each was born into, as well as the creative elements inherent to both through readings, music and class presentations,” Kahn said. “Then, having been separated into various ‘bands’ with other classmates, students will get a chance to apply these lessons to creating their own music — with guidance and critiques. I honestly [sic] can’t wait to hear the results.”

The classes in the course will take place every Wednesday starting Sept. 5.

Email Louise Choi at [email protected] 



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