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Georgetown’s Semi-Ridiculous Jay-Z Class Is Underway


Brush up on those term paper ideas. Michael Eric Dyson’s new Georgetown University course has begun, and by the looks of a recent Washington Post article, students with finely tuned BS generators could enjoy a distinct advantage. Remember how we originally reported that the class would be called “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z”? Well, it’s actually called “Sociology of Hip-Hop — Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z.”

That one change pretty much sets the tone for the article’s other revelations about Jay-Z 101. Gawker has already come down hard on Dyson, saying the well-regarded professor and author “doesn’t know shit about hip-hop.” And far be it from us to pile on — especially when it comes to someone whom Jay-Z once called, in an introduction to Dyson’s 2007 book Know What I Mean, “the most brilliant interpreter of hip-hop culture we have.”

It’s a lot more fun to let the quotes from the Post’s article speak for themselves. Ranging from impenetrable jargon to goofy slang, here are seven of the funniest:
• “Jay-Z is speaking about the imagistic conception of blackness that is evoked in a white world thinking about black culture.” (Dyson)
• “What’s the intellectual, theological, philosophical predicate for Jay-Z’s argument?” (Dyson)
• “This is not a class meant to sit around and go, ‘Oh man, those lyrics were dope.'” (Dyson)
• “Hip-hop didn’t exist when my parents were growing up with Billy Joel and Van Morrison and the Rolling Stones … My dad was like, ‘Excuse me? What?'” (a sophomore at Georgetown, where annual tuition is currently $40,920)
• “I see my tongue as a bridge over which ideas can travel back and forth.” (Dyson, on being a “tweener, man”: too young for the civil rights movement, too old for hip-hop)
• “I spit him some rhymes on text … How crazy am I?” (Dyson, on texting rap lyrics to Jay-Z)
• “Hearing great things about the class! Thank you and keep representing the poetry! Respect, j.” (Jay-Z, in a return text quoted by the Post, although Jay declined to be interviewed for the article)