Professor Dr. Scott Heath explains why he has a course dedicated to Kanye West's impact in music, fashion and culture.
The study of Hip Hop culture in college courses has become a more popular trend as years progress. The musical element of the culture has seen its most prolific personalities get whole classes designated to their impact on public discourse.
Dr. Scott Heath, an English language and literature professor at Georgia State University, recently introduced a new course to his teaching catalog specifically about Kanye West. The FADERrecently spoke with Heath about his 'Kanye Versus Everybody: Black Poetry and Poetics from Hughes to Hip-Hop' class and why he decided that 'Ye needed a particular focus.
'He's one of the few musicians that you get to hear actually talk about hip-hop as art,' Dr. Heath said when asked about Kanye's impact. 'He talks about designing culture—not just designing fashion, but designing culture,' referring to West's 2013 interview with Zane Lowe in which Kanye refers to fashion and culture as something much bigger than currently represented.
The course's syllabus aims to 'investigate the continuous development of African American poetry and poetics—the uses of language and literature to represent blackness and Americanness in particular—observing shifting meanings in and of the text with important considerations of race, class, gender, and sexuality.' Heath says Kanye West and Hip Hop culture in general have helped advance young writer's abilities and thought. Those values, he believes, in turn have helped represent minorities in a better light.
'I think that young writers around the world—and especially young black writers—are more prolific than they've ever been,' he explained. 'It just so happens that they're writing to a beat.'
Read the full FADER piece here.