If I was an aspiring producer, rapper or chart topper, the opportunity to sit in a college course under the tutelage of one of the most sought after producers in the industry would be golden. The students at Duke University and North Carolina Central University have embraced that privilege. And this fall more knowledge will be dropped by producer and professor 9th Wonder.
His inspiration? Soul music. “Everybody knows that I sample voices but I’m really sampling the instruments behind [them],” he said in a Youtube interview. “The chopin’ style comes from Preem (DJ Premier). The soul style comes from Pete [Rock]. And the boom bap is everybody who was around in the early 90s.”
He lectures about the black diaspora of music over the past 30 to 40 years in his “Soul Sampling” course with Duke African American studies professor Dr. Mark Anthony Neal. “I love it” says Wonder. “A lot of students tell me ‘that’s the best class I ever had.’”
Don’t just register for a job or a deal though. The Jay Z, Erykah Badu, and Mary J. Blige, hit maker adds, “We talk about life too. We don’t just talk about records or how to get a deal. That’s not what this class is about. [Students] learn more than just how to get a job.”