C. Brandon Ogbunu interviews Lupe Fiasco about the fusion between academia and hip-hop
Lupe Fiasco on his latest challenge: teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Grammy-winning rapper talks about the fusion between academia and hip-hop
Andscape, 1 November 2022
By C. Brandon Ogbunu [2022-23 MIT MLK Visiting Assistant Professor]
Rapper Lupe Fiasco [2022-23 MIT MLK Visiting Scholar], now 40 years old and more than two decades into his career, has attained all the commercial success and critical acclaim that any artist could hope for: a platinum-selling album (2007’s The Cool), a 2006 GQ Man of the Year nod, and a Grammy Award (best urban/alternative performance, in 2008).
But his goals have always transcended standard metrics of success, and he has aimed to push the envelope by forming institutions, such as the Society of Spoken Art (S.O.S.A.), an educational guild for aspiring rappers that explores the art form at a level of sophistication that includes the study of linguistics, semiotics, and poetry.
Recently, Fiasco (Wasalu Jaco) began a new challenge that he can add to his long résumé: an appointment as a Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He will teach a course on rap during the spring semester, and collaborate with artists, scientists and engineers across the school.
We spoke to him about this latest undertaking, his views on the industry, and advice for creatives.