Hip-Hop Professor Publishes Mason Student Work in New Journal

Posted: May 4, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

New Century College instructor Andrew Ryan, one of the leading area experts on hip-hop, has started a new journal focused on his passion. Having taught his courses, Beats, Rhyme, and Culture and Black Voices in Hip-Hop, for several years now, Ryan was so impressed with some of the student academic essays written for his course that he felt they ought to be published.

Hip-hop is a musical and cultural movement that is beginning to shape history and is drawing the attention of academics and historians nationwide. According to the first issue of the Journal of Hip-Hop, “Hip-Hop has gone from humble beginnings in the South Bronx during the early 1970s to a worldwide culture with a billion-dollar earning value.”

Having grown up in the Bronx while hip-hop was emerging, Ryan has been interested in teaching and writing about the movement for many years, and says he likes to bring his real-world experience into the classroom. He founded a male youth group in the Bronx at age 17 and often speaks to youth at local schools and civic groups. Ryan has served on the board of directors for the Midnight Forum, a hip-hop-based after-school program in Washington, D.C., and the Archbishop Leadership Project, a two-year enrichment program aimed at underprivileged minorities in Harlem. Ryan recently founded a nonprofit called Hip-Hop Matters that advocates the responsible use of hip-hop in education, especially at the high school level.

And now his latest project is the Journal of Hip-Hop, one of the first journals of its kind to focus on analyzing hip-hop from an academic perspective. The essays, reviews, and poetry critique, deconstruct, advance, and contribute to hip-hop culture, according to Ryan. All of the essays in the first issue were written by students at Mason, although the journal accepts submissions from all over the country. Every submission goes through an extensive review process before it is accepted.

Each issue also has a theme. The first one is “Who Controls Hip-Hop?” and the journal features essays such as “The Commercial Commodification of Hip-Hop” and “A Brief History of Graffiti.” Upcoming themes include hip-hop and politics and spirituality and hip-hop.

“Hip-hop scholarship cannot be confined to the grounds of a university. I started the journal to allow everyone from a high school student to a PhD to comment on hip-hop,” says Ryan. “Hip-hop bridges so many gaps—race, income, religion, age. I’m hoping education can soon be considered one of them.”

The journal is on sale at the University Bookstores on the Fairfax and Arlington Campuses. There will be an unveiling today at 1 p.m. in the Fairfax Campus bookstore, where the journal can be purchased for a special price of $15. It can also be purchased online at Amazon.com. Visit the journal’s web site for more information and submission guidelines.

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