The University of Missouri will offer their “Jay-Z and Kanye West” class this fall, which examines their unique relationship and iconic status in hip-hop.
Categorized under the Department of English, the class — which debuted in Fall 2013 — is helmed by instructor Andrew Hoberek, who tells Consequence Of Sound that the duo should be considered modern-day poets.
“I really do think that these guys are warming up to the level of major poets, and not many people think of it in those terms,” Hoberek said of the class’s academic aim. “Because it’s not just on a page, but it’s video art, too. So, we looked at how those complicated the questions, and how do books about poetry help us to understand rap with Jay and Kanye at the forefront.
“We looked at the larger history of rap as an art form,” he continued. “Specifically, how, especially with Blueprint 3 and Yeezus, there’s an identifiable push to get beyond what’s happening in the art form. They’re very much like painters and novelists in the 20th century, moving beyond the confines of the art form’s boundaries.”
TIME agrees with Hoberek, writing: “Jay Z and Kanye’s projects are now multidisciplinary, mingling visual and performance arts as integral elements of their albums and concerts, to a greater extent than their predecessors. And their collaborations inform their solo projects. All of this is worth exploring in an academic setting.”
For more on the “English 2169: Jay-Z and Kanye West” course at the University of Missouri, visit Missouri.edu.