Lupe Fiasco: The art and science of rap

Lupe Fiasco: The art and science of rap

MIT Technology Review

Lupe Fiasco, Getty Images

Lupe Fiasco. Photo: Jason Davis/Getty Images

The art and science of rap

While teaching a course at MIT last spring, rap luminary and Renaissance man Lupe Fiasco refined his unifying theory of the musical genre.

By Alula Hunsen ’21


Lupe Fiasco is a multiplatinum rap legend who typically performs at packed clubs and concert halls across the US and around the world. But in the spring of 2023, he made twice-weekly appearances in a decidedly different venue: an MIT classroom.

On an April afternoon in 4-257, Lupe greeted the students in his class, CMS.S60: Rap Theory and Practice, and chatted with them about the differences between the martial arts practices of Wushu and its Islamic counterpart before deftly transitioning into the day’s lecture. He then walked them through the components of their final project: composing and producing an extended play (EP) recording of their own original music, an assignment meant to challenge their abilities and apply the tools and ideas covered in the course.