Rapper J. Cole

Rapper J. Cole



Hip-Hop, a genre that prides itself on rags to riches ideology, has played host to numerous artists that discovered their niche and achieved success in non-traditional ways.


These artists were not just gangsters and thugs that grinded their way to the top, but individuals that were smart and educated. There are many Hip-Hop artists that even attended colleges and universities before and after beginning their Hip-Hop careers, some receiving an education at a few prestigious academic institutions.


For example, Hip-Hop Superstar Kanye West briefly attended Chicago State University in 1990 before deciding to drop out and focus on his music career as a producer and eventually an artist. Although West did not finish school, the spirit of college has always been prevalent in his music. West released three albums entitled College Dropout, Late Registration and Graduation, which serve as nods to his academic experiences.


J. Cole, a local rapper from Fayetteville, North Carolina attended St. John’s University in New York City in route to his Hip-Hop career. He majored in communications and graduated with honors, eventually becoming a Grammy nominee and releasing three highly successful albums in Cold World: The Sideline Story, Born Sinner and 2014 Forest Hills Drive.


Rick Ross, also known as the “Boss” attended Albany State University on a football scholarship and studied criminal justice before dropping out and deciding that he no longer wanted to continue his education at the historically black college. His label mate, Wale a rapper from Washington, D.C. also received football scholarships to Robert Morris College and Virginia State University before focusing on establishing himself as the musician we know and love today.


Atlanta rappers, 2 Chainz and Ludacris also  attended college. After being a high school stand out in the sport of basketball, 2 Chainz played a season for Alabama State University and majored in psychology, before dropping out to pursue his rap dreams. Ludacris attended Georgia State University and studied music management. Eventually, Ludacris would go on to intern at Hot 107.9 in Atlanta and became a DJ by the name of DJ Chris Lova before launching his successful music career and creating Disturbing tha Peace Records.


In addition, Sean Combs, also known as P. Diddy, one of the most successful and prominent business men in Hip-Hop history attended Howard University and studied business.


While in school, Combs became an intern at Uptown Records in New York City, eventually dropping out of school and going on to launch Bad Boy Records and becoming brand ambassador of Cîroc Vodka.


In all, with the number of Hip-Hop artists that have found success, with or without attending college, it is clear that there is no one way to the top. However, it is interesting to note that some of the most popular and successful artists have some college education. Perhaps, their experiences and education has helped to assist them in becoming the stars that we see today.


Therefore, I think that it shows that elements of education can be used in all walks of life.