Hate school but love Drake and the Weeknd? Well, maybe you should consider transferring to Toronto. X University (the soon-to-be-renamed Ryerson University) will be teaching a new course in 2022 called “Deconstructing Drake and the Weeknd.”
The course will be taught by author, podcaster, publicist, and journalist Dalton Higgins. He explained the need for such a course after observing an increased focus on hip-hop pedagogy at academic institutions across the United States.
“On the U.S. college and university scene there are all kinds of courses being taught about rock, folk, pop artists like Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen – so why shouldn’t there be a course about Drake and the Weeknd right here in Toronto?” Higgins tells “NOW Toronto.” “On American college campuses, there are easily more than 300 hip-hop courses being taught about artists like Jay Z, Outkast, Beyoncé (there are a lot of Beyoncé courses). Many Ivy League universities including Harvard and Cornell, have fully embraced hip-hop education, so we can do the same here.”
Higgins notes that Drake and the Weeknd are two of the biggest artists in the world and as well as the academic recognition, it’s also important to explore the conditions that led them to seek out their careers in the US rather than their native Canada.
“When you have two Black artists born and bred in Toronto who perform rap, R&B, and pop, and who are arguably well on their way to becoming billionaires at some point in time, there is apparently a lot to learn,” he says. “Remember, they both blew up despite being products of a local Canadian music scene that does very little to foster the growth of its Black music practitioners.
“What is it that made these particular artists stand out from the pack of thousands of cross-genre musicians from here from a marketing perspective?” Higgins continues. “Drake and the Weeknd are both real human beings, which means that, like most humans, they are going to do and say intriguing and confounding things, so we’ll peel back the layers on some of that [too]. My expectation is that students will ask tough questions about their music, race, class, subject matter, music production, lyrics.”
Fans and students can sign up for “RTA 950: Deconstructing Drake and The Weeknd” for the 2022 winter term.