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The Grandfather of Hip-Hop Is Teaching at Cornell The Grandfather of Hip-Hop Is Teaching at Cornell

The Grandfather of Hip-Hop Is Teaching at Cornell

by Liz Dwyer

August 16, 2012

Cornell University probably isn't the first place that comes to mind when you think about hip-hop, but it turns out the school's library is home to the largest national archive of hip-hop culture. Not content to just be the home of "thousands of recordings, flyers, photographs, and other artifacts," the school is upping its credibility by bringing one of hip-hop's founding fathers, DJ Afrika Bambaataa, on board as a visiting scholar.

While it's not unusual to find universities that offer music, English, or sociology classes that delve into hip-hop's influence on the greater culture, Cornell's decision to hire Bambaataa for the next three years to "talk to classes, meet with student and community groups, and perform the music he helped create and expand" is the first faculty appointment of a hip-hop icon at a top university.

It'll be pretty interesting to see if other universities follow suit and try to hire on other notables (Chuck D? KRS-One?). In the meantime, given Bambaataa's extensive experience and activist worldview, he's sure to drop some knowledge on the Cornell undergrads.

Photo by Pete Best courtesy of Cornell University

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The Grandfather of Hip-Hop Is Teaching at Cornell