Home Arts & Culture ‘Legends and learners’: Clemson students hear from Hip Hop experts

‘Legends and learners’: Clemson students hear from Hip Hop experts

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Two representatives of The Hip Hop Museum with rich musical backgrounds visited Clemson University students in a unique learning experience focused on the evolving genre and lifestyle.

The Global Black Studies program sponsored the “Voices of the Culture” Zoom lecture in the Watt Family Innovation Auditorium on March 26 that featured Yolanda “Yo-Yo” Whitaker and “Prime Minister” Pete Nice. Both are affiliated with the Bronx, New York, museum founded in 2015. Whitaker serves as an associate board member and Nice is a co-curator.

“I hear so many young kids today say, ‘I don’t care.’ Hip Hop is a culture and it affects our community, whether we like it or not,” Whitaker, who studied under Ice Cube in the 1990s, told students. “It’s a fact. It affects our community, so we have to make sure we care about it.”

The pair invited students to visit the museum located in one of New York City’s five boroughs, where visitors find rotating exhibits spanning from the golden age of Hip Hop in the late 1980s to the modern day.

“It’s overwhelming, as a museum, to figure out what we represent in the 2010s and 20s because there is a proliferation of so much music and so many artists that it’s difficult for us to keep track of,” Nice said.

Melvin Earl Villaver Jr., assistant professor of Audio Technology and Global Black Studies, facilitated the discussion between Nice, Whitaker and students. The visit transpired partly because of a student in one of Villaver’s Global Black Studies classes. Student Gabriel Fiorentino’s aunt, Donna Davis, is the museum’s development director.

“We are immensely grateful to have had Yo-Yo and Pete Nice grace Clemson University with their presence. Their invaluable insights into Hip Hop history and culture not only enrich the student experience but also inspire the next generation of practitioners,” Villaver said. “It was truly an honor to host them, bridging the gap between legends and learners.”

“This collaborative effort underscores the profound impact of community-driven initiatives in enriching educational experiences and cultivating meaningful conversations about Hip Hop culture,” he added.

The hour-long discussion explored Hip Hop’s history — which now spans 50 years — and its cultural significance, artistic techniques and aesthetic innovations.

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