UCLA has just announced a Hip-Hop initiative which Chuck D will serve as inaugural artist in residence of. According to The Los Angeles Times, the roots of the initiative stem from a roundtable at the California African American Museum in downtown Los Angeles that featured Rakim, Talib Kweli, and Chuck called “Sweat The Technique: The Politics and Poetics of Hip Hop”. UCLA Professor of Anthropology H. Samy Alim recalls, “The room was sweating. It was on fire. This shows what we can do when we come together to showcase Hip Hop’s power and strength.”
The initiative envisions itself as “the leading center for Hip-Hop studies globally” and it aims to amplify and multiply the Hip Hop conversation across artistic disciplines, “by way of artist and residencies, community engagement programs, a book series, lecture series, an oral history and digital archive project, postdoctoral fellowships and more”, the initiatives announcement states.
Alim and Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of The Hip Hop Generation, will edit the Hip-Hop Studies Series of books published by University of California Press, and initiative will expand the series. It will also build on the universities archive, accelerating the researching and documentation of Hip-Hop in the Los Angeles area. UCLA’s faculty has included Herbie Hancock, Patrice Rushen, and the late Barbara Morrison.
During a recent discussion of his residency Chuck D said: “All the other musics out there have been understood, interpreted, rolled out, books made about it. So this newest art form of the last 50 years, Hip Hop and rap is reaching this point where you hear directly from the sources. The inspiration, impact and connectivity between the creators and audiences.”