Georgia Tech Professor Offers Course On Trap Music Using Virtual Reality

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Starting Friday, Jan. 13, a lucky group of Georgia Tech students are going to find out what it’s like to study Future and 21 Savage‘s music for homework.

The course, “Exploring the Lyrics of Outkast and Trap Music to Explore Politics of Social Justice,” will challenge students to listen past the “turn up” and examine why the music exists and why they love it so much. It is being offered as a humanities elective and requirement for those with a Social Justice minor.

Not to be confused with the Outkast course being offered at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Ga., this course will also be including lessons on Atlanta trap music artists ranging from Future to 21 Savage. The class seeks to use the narratives in the music to draw attention to Hip-Hop’s ability to influence society and politics as well as its role in self-expression. The class will be a multimedia affair where students will study music, media, photography and film, in addition to having guests visit the class to give lectures.

The course is created and taught by Harvard Hip-Hop Archive alumni fellow Dr. Joycelyn Wilson and will be powered by her Virtual Four Four platform that is described as “an interactive storytelling and publishing platform that curates social justice narratives and archive collections inspired by Hip Hop culture for use in college and pre-college learning environments.”

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“When I started designing Virtual Four Four, I wanted to highlight Hip Hop’s complex connections to innovation,” said Dr. Wilson in a statement to HipHopWired. “I didn’t want it to just be an archive that hosted a bunch of Hip Hop stuff. I want students to feel connected to the materials.”

“Dr. Joyce” adds, “As a southern Black woman who grew up in Atlanta on the music of Outkast, I want the 19-year old engineering student who listens to Future or 21 Savage to come to this class ready to talk about why they listen to Future or 21 Savage. I want them excited by the challenge to push beyond just mere listening to problem-solving ways for designing a self-expression product that elevates how they listen to Future, 21 Savage, or any other artist…and why. A product they can see hanging on the wall of our VR gallery as they walk through it wearing oculus technology.”

Dr. Wilson is largely known for her TEDx Talk on educational innovation called “The Outkast Imagination” and is currently finishing her first book on the subject.


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