Rapper Lupe Fiasco subs in for Boston Arts Academy class

Rapper Lupe Fiasco subs in for Boston Arts Academy class

Boston Arts Academy students got a rare lesson on Wednesday afternoon, led by famed rapper Lupe Fiasco.

“When I heard he was coming I was really shocked,” said 10th grader Will Dendy. “I grew up listening to him. He’s like a top lyricist.

Lupe Fiasco, the stage name of Chicago native Wasalu Jaco, led the class of nine high school students through a step-by-step lesson in the power of didactic, instructional lyrics — from an interactive task rapping over lip gloss to breaking down the construction of his hit ‘Kick, Push’ to fill in the blanks of Brother Ali’s ‘Sweet (Potato Pie)’.

For him, the Grammy winner said, the class was something of a testing ground for a semester-long course he will teach at MIT starting next Tuesday.

“Artists often drift away from formal education,” Fiasco said. “But when you get into it, you realize, ‘No, it actually empowers creativity. “”

Fiasco said he found academics as a way to further immerse himself in the rap medium with artists, and it was through this idea that the Society of Spoken Art (SOSA) started seven years ago. years.

Over the past few years, Fiasco has visited MIT on several occasions, as well as a series of other colleges, and held a longer tenure with the college as part of MIT’s MLK Visiting Professor and Scholars Program for the 2022-23 academic year.

His class at MIT explores his interest in cognitive science, linguistics, semiotics and computer science, topics the rapper covered during his BBA class on Wednesday.

“When I became an artist right out of high school, I was still learning to build and compose, still trying to figure out what I wanted to say,” Fiasco told the class during a lesson on context, building and content. of lyrics. “And then I started to learn that what I wanted to say was dictated by what I needed to do and not the other way around.”

“Form follows function,” one student quipped, earning a nod from the rapper.

At one point, the class talked about why they were interested in the arts – how their queer identity made them want to inspire others, or their interest in speaking and sharing a musical language, or how in fifth grade they had to rap at their own pace. because no one else would – and Fiasco pointed out how understanding lyrical or other techniques helps them do better with their art.

After the lesson, Fiasco said he was taking student feedback on the lesson into account.

“It’s interesting to see how people react,” the rapper said. … “I have a hypothesis that people already know how to rap, if you just give them something to rap about. Even in a setting like this with people who don’t rap.

Rapper Lupe Fiasco teaches a class at the Boston Arts Academy on Wednesday. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald) Rapper Lupe Fiasco teaches students didactic lyricism during a Boston Arts Academy music class on Wednesday. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald) Rapper Lupe Fiasco answers questions during a Boston Arts Academy class on Wednesday. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

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