Published: 23rd August 2018
Mumbai University's Hip-Hop course begins on Sep 8, Pak artists to handle 'pro' sessions
The course has been designed for any +2 pass-out and is the precursor to a full-length degree programme that may come up eventually
Hip-hop has always had a very small scene in India until recently, when artists like Divine have had their songs featured in mainstream Bollywood films like Mukkabaaz and Blackmail. With the intention of studying and interpreting hip-hop as a subject, the Department of Communication and Journalism of the Mumbai University has planned to launch a three-week-long course on hip-hop. The course which is scheduled to kick-off on September 8, 2018, is set to be a precursor to a diploma on hip-hop and then, gradually, a full-fledged degree on the subject.
They're also doing their bit to promote harmony across the Western frontier, with their plan to invite Pakistani rappers to perform, teach and discuss how the hip-hop culture has grown in Pakistan. "We are also planning to invite a few artists from Pakistan for a video-conference interaction to talk about how the culture is growing in Pakistan," said Yatindra Ingle, the course coordinator, who is a PhD scholar. The department also plans to collaborate with other recognised underground artists, not only from Mumbai but also from other parts of the world. "We will have artists from the USA to talk to the students over video calls and helping them understand the culture," he added, while stressing on the fact that all the artists who will be delivering lectures will interact with students.
Incidentally, this 27-year-old assistant professor who is helming the project was a rapper himself, "Many of the hip-hop artists give up education midway to join this culture but then they have no academic connection to come back to even if they want to. The courses they want to pursue are not on offer and they have to stick to some mainstream arts subject," said Ingle. "We wanted to teach hip-hop as a culture. We are going to explore hip-hop as a culture and how to interpret hip-hop academically."
Rapper-scribe-prof: Yatindra Ingle, the course coordinator, was a rapper himself
Though it is built like any other academic programme, there is a strong critical aspect to the curriculum — like examining why most of the lyrics are chauvinistic in nature, "The course will have a six-credit structure with topics like the history of hip-hop, political hip-hop, women in hip-hop and the male chauvinist nature of the genre," explained Ingle. "
The students will be awarded two credits for attendance, two for a written examination of 100 marks and two for projects like organising a jam or writing research papers on the topic." Clearly, their practical classes are going to be the bomb. Ingle explained that hip-hop has always been a tool of communication and it's not an underground art form anymore. It's more of an alternative genre. Every artist now has a social media account and they connect with people directly. "We feel this should be studied academically to explore what the trends are, who these people are, what are they expressing and what else can be expressed using this medium," said Dr Sanjay Ranade, Head of the department. "This course is open to anyone who has graduated Class XII."
Setting milestone: The HOD, Sanjay Ranade, feels the hip-hop culture needs to be explored
Ranade added that the department will also invite people who manage hip-hop shows and academicians so that their students understand how the business works as a whole.