Mumbai college to start certificate course in hip-hop from March

Almost 14 months after the course was approved by the University of Mumbai (MU), a suburban college is all set to start the first batch in Introduction to Hip-Hop Studies
University of Mumbai. (Hindustan Times)
University of Mumbai. (Hindustan Times)
Published on Feb 25, 2021 11:19 PM IST
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By, Mumbai

Almost 14 months after the course was approved by the University of Mumbai (MU), a suburban college is all set to start the first batch in Introduction to Hip-Hop Studies. Vile Parle’s Usha Pravin Gandhi College (UPG College) will be starting the first batch in March this year and registrations for the same have already begun.

Yatindra Ingle, a professor with the college said, “While hip-hop has been practised as a performing art, now having it into academics will add in the in-depth knowledge of the subject, for those who wish to study it as a culture. It’s important not only to art but also history and even contemporary life.” Ingle has helped design the curriculum and will now be coordinating the course at UPG College. “Due to its cultural relevance and its tendency to promote through its connection with students—an increased social and cultural awareness can be created in an academic setting through this course.”

The 60-hour certificate course, originally meant to be launched in the year 2018, was under review by an expert committee and the final approval came through only in 2019, making it the first course of its kind to be offered by a university in the country.

The approval process for the course faced some hiccups, and a committee had to be set up to make sure that a subject like hip-hop could be taught. The final approval came through in June 2019.

Ingle, who himself has been rapping for more than a decade and also emcees rap battles in and around the city, said the course will teach hip-hop as a medium of communication and take students back to the roots when African Americans and other oppressed groups in the US used hip-hop to make their voices heard. “The course will take students back to the days when hip-hop first was introduced on the streets of the US as a platform to speak out against oppression, violence, identity, culture as well as power,” added Ingle.

Sanjay Ranade, associate professor, department of communication and journalism, MU, was also part of the formulation of this course along with Ingle and will now be part of the course at UPG College. “My focus will be on lyrical development in the Indian hip-hop scenario, especially in Indian languages. I feel this will be unique to India,” he said.

The 60-hour certificate program will take students from a basic introduction to the art form to the politics attached to it, women in hip-hop and the art form that goes beyond borders and the economic status of the performer. Along with weekend classes where students will be introduced to the concept with the help of experts from the industry, students will also be part of practical sessions and will then go through a written exam to pass the course. “The course will take students on a virtual global trip to understand the concept,” added Ingle.

Not only will this course bring together artists from India, but the institute is also trying to rope in international hip-hop artists. Ambarin Kadri aka Am-B, a Hip-hop artist and faculty of this program said, “Hip-hop in academics would work as a good bridge between the real HipHop community and the younger generation that’s interested in learning in-depth about hip-hop from scratch. We as hip-hop artists get the opportunity to impart the right knowledge and pass on our life-changing experiences first hand with the younger generation.”


    Shreya Bhandary is a Special Correspondent covering higher education for Hindustan Times, Mumbai. Her work revolves around finding loopholes in the current education system and highlighting the good and the bad in higher education institutes in and around Mumbai.

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