The Hip-Hop Fellow (2014), a documentary chronicling Grammy Award winning hip-hop producer 9th Wonder and his journey as a fellow in Harvard University’s Hip Hop Archive, is available now for streaming and digital download.
9th began his career with hip-hop trio Little Brother, and has since worked with Mary J. Blige, Jean Grae, Wale, Jay-Z, Murs, Drake, Destiny’s Child, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Erykah Badu — to name a few.
With hopes to leave producing behind for good and focus on academia, 9th initiated the transition in 2007 when he became an Artist-In-Residence at North Carolina Central University.
He went on to co-teach a class titled “Sampling Soul” with Dr. Mark Anthony Neal at Duke University in 2010.
Then in 2012, he embarked on his scholastic residency at Harvard’s W.E.B. Dubois Institute, considered the most comprehensive collection of African and African-American studies in the country.
For a year, he conducted a research project titled “These Are The Breaks” and taught a “Standards of Hip-Hop” course, with a focus on the art of hip-hop sampling.
“T.S. Elliot. Herman Melville, with Moby-Dick. Ulysses by James Joyce is an entire extended riff on The Odyssey by Homer. That’s how literature works — it’s repetition, with a difference,” says Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., head of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute. “And sampling is just another word for what, in literary circles, we call intertexuality.”
Directed by Kenneth Price, Hip-Hop Fellow “centers on the emerging significance of incorporating hip-hop studies into the academy and spotlights the scholars and musicians at the forefront of preserving 40 years of hip-hop culture.”
Dr. Gates and Kendrick Lamar appear in the feature as interviewees along with Young Guru, Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, Phonte, Dr. Marcyliena Morgan, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Ab-Soul, Rapper Big Pooh, and DJ Premier.