Want to learn all about trap music? Head to Georgia Tech. Beginning this semester in January, Georgia Tech began to offer an undergraduate course dedicated to trap music and nothing but titled “Exploring the Lyrics of Outkast and Trap Music to Explore Politics of Social Justice.” The course is a Humanities elective and is required for students working towards a Social Justice minor. Here on Run The Trap, we have an entire article dedicated to explaining what trap music is.
The curriculum of the course is built around the sound and lyrics of southern trap music, which was first introduced by DJ Troop and later popularized by producers such as Shanty Red, Metro Boomin, Mike Will Made It, Zaytoven, and more. Students in the course will be asked to “research and analyze the metadata of soundscapes and the social impact of artists in the scene.” There’s even a specific period of the course dedicated to exploring the intergenerational tensions and discourse of Lil Yachty’s artistry.
Notable artists discussed throughout the course include Goodie Mob, UGK, T.I., Jeezy, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Migos, Future, and 21 Savage, among others. Beyond that, the course also touches on some of the more legendary hip-hop acts ever such as The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, N.W.A., Nas, Lauryn Hill, and more.
The class is taught by Atlanta Native and hip hop scholar Dr. Jocelyn Wilson. Most people will recognize her from her well received TEDx Lecture titled “The OUTKAST Imagination” (watch below). Dr. Wilson also helped produce an Emmy award-nominated film titled Walking with Guns and was featured in a VH1 Documentary The Untold Story of Atlanta’s Rise in the Rap Game.
In an interview with HipHopDX, Dr. Wilson shared her thoughts on the course, what’s it’s alll about, and why students love the class.
“It’s a course that uses new metaphors for exploring contemporary rap music. One of my metaphors is ‘The Outkast Imagination’ and the other metaphor is ‘trap.’ Both allow us to broaden and deepen our understandings of the music within a larger tradition of cultural expression.
The class is popular because Hip Hop culture is popular, but also because we are in Atlanta and offering the course at an institute of technology committed to intersecting the humanities with technology.
My students are majors in engineering, economics, public policy, media and communications, and biomedical sciences. They all have a sensibility towards Hip Hop and a special affinity for trap music. I have a math degree, so I can understand and relate to their undergraduate experiences at Georgia Tech while attempting to make sense of what’s happening around them culturally. Studying Hip Hop, particularly from the Atlanta perspective, we are able to explore trap as an ideology of self-determination, social justice, and civic engagement. They are the next generation of STEM leaders. My hope is they can take these basic principles and fundamental truths and apply them to their work-life after graduation. That’s the overarching goal, aim and mission of the course. Hip Hop is therefore the metaphor we use to examine the pedagogical implications of the music. However, it is a 40-year-old metaphor. When working with 18, 19, and 20-year-old college students, my position is we need contemporary and innovative ways to work with them. This is where the element of trap comes in.”
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And just because, here is Gucci Mane’s TinyDesk concert:
Photo Credit: NPR