Hip-hop guru 9th Wonder will be working along side Duke University's Professor Mark Anthony Neal this upcoming semester, teaching an Africa-American Studies class. According to Neal's personal blogspot, the Grammy Award winning producer, DJ, rapper, and social activist will join him in educating students about "Sampling Soul," a course that will examine songs from the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. Wonder is no novice to the teaching game. In the fall of 2006 he was appointed Artist-in-Residence by the Chancellor of North Carolina Central University, the same university where he met former group members Phonte and Big Pooh of Little Brother as a student in 2001. There, Wonder began instructing a hip-hop history class in the Music Department called "Hip-Hop in Context, 1973-1997." A few years later in 2009, Wonder was appointed the National Ambassador For Hip-Hop Relations and Culture for the NAACP by Ben Jealous, President of the NAACP.
There are so many negative stereotypes attached to rap and hip-hop music, and it's nice to know that there are artists out there who still care about preserving the music's cultural history throughout all its divisions-- from jazz, gospel, and funk to soul, afrobeat, and hip-hop-- and its deep-rooted connections to the African diaspora. The media and mainstream music industries have really demonized hip-hop in the last decade and Wonder reminds us of the music's positive voice in changing lives and inspiring social revolutions.
In the interview below, Wonder talks about teaching at Duke University, making beats, his past with the group Little Brother, and remixing Nas's album God's Son.