U-M Students to Explore Jay Z and Kanye West’s Relationship in Class


The University of Missouri's English department will be offering a detailed course on Jay Z and Kanye West's relationship this fall, several sources say.

The rappers' relationship and how they established a hip-hop empire are some of the subjects of the course, 'Jay Z and Kanye West.' It will be taught by instructor Andrew Hoberek.

Hoberek said that both Jay and Ye have moved beyond just composing music. They fuse visual and performance arts in their albums and concerts to a greater level than their predecessors. He feels that these avant-garde innovations are worth exploring in an academic setting.

Jay Z and Kanye West, have extensively collaborated in the last decade including their 'Watch the Throne' album in 2011.

In an interview with music blog Consequence of Sound, comparing the rappers to poets, Hoberek says, "I really do think that these guys are warming up to the level of major poets and not many people think of it in those terms. They're very much like painters and novelists in the 20th century, moving beyond the confines of the art form's boundaries."

The course will focus on three main perspectives of their relationship:

-          Where do they fit within, and how do they change the history of hip-hop music?

-          How is what they do similar to and different from what poets do?

-          How does their rise to both celebrity and corporate power alter what we understand as the American dream?

Apart from listening to music and watching videos, the students will also study Jay Z's Decoded; histories and critical works on rap music by Jeff Chang and Adam Bradley among others.

This is not the first time the course is being offered on campus. It was offered last year and due to its popularity and strong interest, the course on these contemporaries is being introduced once again for the students.

Universities in the past have focused on relationships between two artists in the same craft. Some pairings include Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald's rapport in the literature society, Paul Gaugin and Vincent van Gogh's bond in Post-Impressionistic art world and John Lennon and Paul McCartney's work in song-writing classics.

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