Few things are more daunting than an audience of forty 18-year olds. That's my 2nd year Mass Communication class at the university. I teach them for an hour every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and it's probably the most labour intensive part of my job.
I am probably the only professor they have who is not their parents' age. And every class, I put on a performance. I show up with things I want to put in their heads.
They stare, listen, and occasionally doze off.
Sometimes, their eyes light up. That's when I talk to them about hip-hop. This is house and techno country (besides the local pop scene), but quite a few people do listen to hip-hop.
I brought up Kanye and Fifty, when I talked to them about the power of mass media, and more recently when Rolling Stone had those two on the cover.
The initial reaction was hesitant giggling, almost as if to say,
"are we supposed to talk about this in class?"
Next came a talk on advertising and product placement. Ludacris was the example: Cadillac grills, Cadilac bills... I think they liked it.
Pretty soon, I was being asked about my favourite songs on the new Kanye record.
Next week, we'll be dealing with the recording industry, and of course, hip-hop. Check out what I found while I was researching for it:
That's the Iron Mic '07 - an annual Chinese rap battle in... wait for it... Shanghai!
Who started it? A 32-year old black Muslim dude from Detroit.