Hip Hop Communities as a Model for Education

What is education? We mostly associate it with systematic instruction. Showing and telling people how it’s done. But is that all there is to education? No. There’s also a deeper part, that part of knowing why, discovering what your reason is to appropriate these systematic handlings.

That understanding leads to those ground-breaking trials to put existing things together in odd, new combinations, driven by that burning fire to achieve your ambition. Solid education helps you discover both.

A good analogy for this is hip hop. What would hip hop culture have been if its protagonists were scratching using the same sequences of techniques, the same tracks, the same lyrics by the same kind of MC, and the same type of dance moves ? It would turn more into ballet or an opera.

Hip hop is different, right? It’s people trying out new sounds, and new technology, riffing on each other’s work, finding new ways to express the culture. Each has the motivation to make their mark on the culture, adding to the body of sound and motion.

There are certain rules in this culture, but nobody owns the process on how it’s done. Everybody is learning from each other, picking things up through observations on leaders during performance events, on youtube, or just sitting with each other and mashing together structures. And thus you discover at a point that your listeners are subconsciously bobbing their heads to the same beat as you are, with this MPC you’ve used to create a new flow.

Pete Rock explaining how he figured out the MPC drum machine.

There’s no instructor, telling how this should work. It’s driven by a unity of interest amongst people, who seek each other out to take their own skills to the next level. That is the most granular, and most timely way to get the insights you need to build what you gotta build.

This dynamic is the exponent of peer learning, and it is missing structure in our processes, brands, and curricula of education. We're waiting on our instructors to come up with the next thing.

Now, there do exist ways, but they require a lot of effort from the individual to make that work, eventually.

So let's make it easier. Let's start with constructing a culture of peer learning. Come rif with us!