Nas & Harvard Professors Speak About Importance Of Hip Hop Fellowship

Nas says that Hip Hop music "represents our youth."

In July of last year, it was announced that "The Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship" would be established to fund scholars and artists who demonstrate exceptional, productive scholarship and creative ability in the arts as they relate to Hip Hop. In a recent video on, the fellowship was profiled in an interview with several figures, including Nas.

A lot of people would think, 'Oh, it's just music,'" Said Nas. "'Oh, it's too vulgar, it's too this or that,' but that music represents the world. That music represents our youth. So when you don't pay attention to it, you kinda missing out on your youth. The same youth that you wanna protect, you need to understand them by understanding the music they listen to."

Marcyliena Morgan, the director of the Hip Hop Archive at Harvard, explained what she believes is the essence of Hip Hop culture. "The heart of Hip Hop is the critique," she said. "It's about, are you working at the highest possible level? It's about practicing. You can't be a Hip Hop artist without a lot of practice. Hip Hop really does redesign what the notion is. So your competition is with yourself; it's with others. But it's not about just you, which is very much what happens in the academy. It's about your contribution to the world as well."

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. provided his perspective on Hip Hop culture as well. "I would think the takeaways from ... Hip Hop would be the values of and the possibilities for entrepreneurship," he said. "I don't think there's been a period, a cultural movement, or an art form that so specifically nurtures and encourages people that are economically disenfranchised. The extension of the American Dream through economic freedom, ambition, individual will, through the model of Hip Hop, is certainly something that I hope will be stressed in its most positive way."

Nas spoke about his hopes for the program's message. "Hip Hop represents fast life, for the most part," said the Queens emcee. "So, hopefully they see there's a slow-down period, and there's more to it than just running fast. It's a marathon. You see Harvard and Hip Hop together, I hope that it says something to younger mes out there. I hope it speaks to them, like, there's more to the future than what we're racing to. Hopefully, this gives hope on an educational level.

Watch the profile below:

Nas spoke about the fellowship in November of last year. "Hip Hop is important like computer science," Nas said at the time. "The world is changing. If you want to understand the youth, listen to the music. This is what's happening right underneath your nose."

RELATED: Nas Discusses Hip Hop Fellowship At Harvard University


  • son of sax

    Its just not up to Nas or Krs or college professors to educate on the cultute. It starts with us, the parents, to make sure they know whuts real and whuts right. Im a product of hiphop, thats whut I listen to. Thats whut I embody The other day, my 18 yeard old son was tellin me that he can't stand the music thats coming out today. But yet, knows who Large Professor, Posdnous and Rah Digga. All by voice. So, this is sumthing that should of started when they were in pulls. But I DO applaud the effort to teach the ones who didn't learn along the way. My kids, thou...they got true school.

  • realtalk1000

    The best way for an educational institution to elevate economically disenfranchised is to criticize an education system that provides zero tangible job skills to the economically disenfranchised. Instead they tac on another useless liberal arts degree. A BA in Hip hop is just as useless in the market is just as useless as a degree in Greek Philosophy, it's a hobby, not a vocation.

  • tee

    this has only got 4 comments while Lord Jamar has over 100

  • w h o k n o w s

    Nas is king


    Nas fights for hip hop's integrity more than any rapper from his generation, mastery of a life's work of an MC. His effort to keep it alive and make it truly stand it for something is an unmatched gift from God.

    • Anonymous

      southern mc LOL. not good enough to be called an MC

    • Anonymous

      Rick Ross is a southern style MC Another Southern MC is Paul Wall. Rick Ross got bars n you know it. He just do it South-style. People said the same about Ice Cube in the 80s and 90s. Big Sean has his moments and Tyga's a bona fide Pop Artist not even the rap game anymore.

    • Anonymous

      "Nas fights for hip hop's integrity more than any rapper from his generation, " but then he does songs with Tyga, Rick Ross and Big Sean

  • Anonymous

    Nas is a class act. Hip Hop needs more people like him.

    • Jack

      A very true statement indeed. Guy is very smart too. His maturity cannot be questioned nor can his skill. I hope he brings out an album this year though.

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