University offers course on Jay Z and Kanye West's relationship
The relationship between hip-hop titans Kanye West and Jay Z has been well-documented over the past decade: they've performed on stage together, have produced songs together, appear regularly with each other's families in photos, and even put out a collaborative album in 2011.
It is the rap bromance to end all bromances - a friendship so tight and prolific, it seems, that one university has deemed it worthy of academic study.
That's right - English students at the University of Missouri can now take a full course on all things Hova and Yeezy.
Entitled "English 2169: Jay-Z and Kanye West," the course will examine the power-duo's joint and respective careers from three different angles, according to the syllabus:
"1. Where do they fit within, and how do they change, the history of hip-hop music?
2. How is what they do similar to and different from what poets do?
3. How does their rise to both celebrity and corporate power alter what we understand as the American dream?"
Course activities include "listening to music and watching videos," as well as reading critical works on rap music, poetry studies, and Jay Z's 2010 biography Decoded.
Course instructor Andrew Hoberek discussed some of his reasoning behind studying these artists academically with Consequence of Sound:
"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. Because it's not just on a page, but it's video art, too," he said. "They're very much like painters and novelists in the 20th century, moving beyond the confines of the art form's boundaries."
Jay z and Kanye West's 2011 album Watch The Throne achieved great success both commercially and on the awards show circuit. (Getty Images)
In an interview with St. Louis, Mo.'s Riverfront Times, Hoberek defended his course's focus on rap music, likening the academic study of hip hop now to the study of film back when movies were still seen as "trash for the masses."
"Now, you go into any English department, and there is going to be a film element," Hoberek says. "When you are sitting around with your friends and arguing over what's better or worse, you're already working like a critic... If you learn more about how the structure of rap works, then you get better at making the arguments you're already making."
As C.O.S. reports, Jay Z and Kanye West have both been studied at the university level before. Georgetown University's sociology department offered a class called "Sociology of Hip-Hop - Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z" in 2011, and Julius Bailey's academic text book The Cultural Impact of Kanye West is set to be released this spring.
A handful of other university professors have based their syllabi on stars as well. The University of South Carolina offered a course called "The Sociology of Fame and Lady Gaga" in 2009.
As well, the University of California Berkeley students could once take a philosophy class based on The Simpsons, and the department of women's and gender studies at Rutgers offered a course revolving around Jay Z's wife called "Politicizing Beyonce" in 2012.
Have you taken or seen any unusual course listings at a college or university? Share them with us below!
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