Reinventing Every little thing: Learning the Business of Hip-hop

Pupils in the Company of HipHop Innovation & Inventive Industries certificate at UCF are preserving in the spirit of the genre: breaking new floor.

The 1st-of-its kind certificate lets students get the job done hand-in-hand with marketplace gurus, these as Extra fat Joe, DJ Khaled, Jordan Brand’s Reggie Saunders and Def Jam founding Director of Publicity Bill Adler. Assignments include things like every thing from writing educational raps to analyzing new music videos with idea and information. This semester MC Serch will join a class to split down the tunes movie for the 1989 3rd Bass single “The Gas Face,” a provocative just take on the business crossover of hip-hop.

C. Keith Harrison (best) offers Air Jordans to the winners of the educational rap assignment, Jonathan Obas ’20 (left) and Tre Nixon ’19 (proper) all through a course in a previous semester. Nixon is a collection of the New England Patriots in the NFL Draft (2021, Round 7, #242) and is at present a member of their observe squad. (Photograph courtesy of C. Keith Harrison)

C. Keith “Doc” Harrison, who is the founding director of the certificate application and one of its professors, intended its four courses to bridge subjects ranging from the innovation and evolution of hip-hop to activity organization administration and entrepreneurship. His purpose is to crank out an elite group of business-savvy college students who abide by the tenants of the certification: think differently, think culturally, consider globally and hustle ahead. 

While the classes emphasis on hip-hop, the goal of the certification is not essentially to deliver college students with a path to working in the songs, enjoyment or sports activities industries. It aims to obstacle the way they assume and technique circumstances, and persuade thinking on a global scale. The certification flips the script of hip-hop’s typical use in academia as a car for religious, sociological, humanities or liberal arts learning by complementing these educational disciplines. The certification software focuses on the company side of an industry that has been all-around considering that the 1970s and the impression it has had across audio, leisure and sporting activities.

Jordan Brand name Vice President of Leisure Marketing Reggie Saunders offers to a person of the very first classes in the certification method. (Photograph courtesy of C. Keith Harrison)

“Our target is to make the certification completion incredibly, extremely selective,” says Harrison, who serves as a Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Exploration. “The 4 classes are fairly rigorous, so our strategy due to the fact the start is to preserve the complete line for only an elite group. We want it to be like turning out to be a pro athlete or artist (e.g. ballers) — prime 1% to 5%.”

The Ballers

By this close of the Spring 2023 semester, 4 college students will have finished the certificate program. Because its inception, the certificate’s marquee program, SPB4023 – Small business of HipHop Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has stuffed up each and every semester as pupils continue on to show a developing curiosity in the certificate’s offerings.

One of the very first to full the certification is Denis Perez, who states the program has made him value tunes even more and presents him an benefit for the upcoming.

“The certification has opened my perspective on how the organization of hip-hop arrived to be,” Perez suggests. “Getting to learn about the beginnings of hip-hop and the significant impacts it created have created me take pleasure in it even much more. This is this kind of a special opportunity. It is a wonderful prospect to diversify your portfolio and make you stand out to employers when on the lookout for put up-graduate opportunities.”

C. Keith Harrison (still left) and Bill Adler (correct) share their academic and market insights with pupils all over the courses of the certification. (Picture courtesy of C. Keith Harrison)

Harrison incorporates business gurus to clearly show college students how hip-hop and enterprise connect.

Last semester, Grandmaster Caz, who has motivated artists these kinds of as Jay-Z, LL Awesome J and Will Smith, spoke to UCF students for the 3rd time. Most a short while ago, his take a look at targeted on the part of innovation, entrepreneurship and creativeness in his career, as very well as a rap tutorial for people in attendance.

This August hip-hop celebrates its 50th anniversary. In preparation, Harrison is preparing a number of distinctive friends and moments for pupils to celebrate the past 50 %-century at the intersection of music and company. Grandmaster Caz, Unwanted fat Joe, DJ Khaled, MC Serch, Adler and Saunders have all been invited again to speak. Photographer Johnny Nunezwill talk with students about his job shooting some of the industry’s most important names, such as Jay-Z, NAS, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Beyonce, Drake, Justin Bieber and LeBron James.

The Faculty

UCF college members Scott Bukstein, associate lecturer in the undergraduate activity organization management software, and Cameron Ford, affiliate professor of administration and founding director of UCF’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, lend their skills to the curriculum as perfectly as lecturers from African and African American Research, who contribute to a course on the evolution of hip-hop. Harrison has also enlisted assistance from outdoors the university from Adler, Brandon Martin, Tuma Basa and Saunders, who all function in and around the amusement market. Martin serves as the athletic director of College of Missouri-Kansas City Basa is the director of Black Songs & Culture at YouTube. Basa was also the certificate’s initial visitor lecturer back in 2019.

C. Keith Harrison (left) and Reggie Saunders (correct) introduced to Jordan Model executives and staff about the background and evolution of the small business of hip-hop. (Photograph courtesy of C. Keith Harrison)

UCF’s Center for Study and Instruction in Arts, Technology and Amusement (Create) also has been an integral part of the certificate, furnishing equally students and faculty. CREATE director Stella Sung and adjunct study animation instructor Ronald Hargrove helped Harrison develop visual articles for the certificate.

‘The Napkin’

This summer Harrison will release The Serviette: An Yearly Report on HipHop Educational Systems online on Aug. 11. Commenced by Harrison, The Serviette will aim on articles that highlights optimistic environment news in hip-hop and bigger education curriculum connected to the genre. Contributors to The Napkin include modern UCF grad and ESPN+ sideline reporter Hannah Jo Groves ’22, current radio/television student Joshua Hammer and Adler. Groves graduated from UCF in 2022 with a journalism main and sport business enterprise management minimal.

Thanks to the ahead-contemplating professors, guest lecturers and pupils, UCF’s Small business of HipHop and Imaginative Industries certificate is primed to adhere all-around as extended as hip-hop has with the culture’s custom of innovation and reinvention. As Caz explained, “Hip-hop did not invent just about anything, it reinvented every thing.”


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