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A History of Rappers in College Classrooms

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Lil’ Kim Course, Syracuse University

In fall 2004, Professor Greg Thomas introduced the dopest course ever to grace the English and Textual Studies department at Syracuse University. Students of Thomas’ Hip-Hop Eshu: Queen Bitch 101 class learned about gender, sexuality, hip-hop and African diaspora through the music of Lil’ Kim. Songs throughout her discography were given the poetry explication treatment, and Kim was examined as a modern-day Eshu, the trickster deity in some West African religions. Critics balked at a college-level course giving the floor to a woman who refused to play by the patriarchal lady-in-the-street rules, but as Thomas showed, the petite spitter from Brooklyn had big things to contribute to the conversation on sexual politics.

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