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Hip-Hop Professor At the University of Virginia Gets Album Peer-Reviewed By University Press

Meet A.D Carson - A professor of Hip-Hop at the University of Virginia.

In addition to his hip-hop centric lectures at the University, Carson is also an acclaimed rapper himself. He released an album “I Used To Love To Dream '' which he describes as “a mixtap/e/ssay that performs hip-hop scholarship using sampled and live instrumentation; repurposed music, film, and news clips; and original rap lyrics.”

Carson seeks advice for his music from some of the legendary voices in the field, most notably Phonte Coleman of the iconic North Carolina rap group ‘Little Brother” - Coleman being a rapper that the professor studied and holds in high regard.

As a creative and an academic, Carson’s mind is always racing with ideas on how to fuse Hip-Hop and academia. He recognized that one of the highest accomplishments for an academic is having their work published in a peer reviewed journal which is a journal where works are evaluated by others in a given field to ensure their relevance and quality. Typically, these works are written pieces - but Carson wanted to shake things up and modernize the process.

Carson wondered - Would it be possible to get his album published through an academic press. To his surprise, the answer was yes. In August 2020, A.D. Carson’s album was published by the University of Michigan Press. It was described as the first ever peer-reviewed hip-hop mixtap/e/ssay published by a university press.

This is a monumental accomplishment, that has the potential to open doors for scholars from all kinds of different backgrounds – including but not limited to hip-hop scholars – to contribute new forms of knowledge.

"With this new form of scholarship comes a new approach to the peer review and production process," the University of Michigan Press wrote.

Submitting your album for peer review is nothing like submitting your music to the Grammys, this is a different process. Carson presented liner notes and created a documentary about how I made the album. He also submitted articles that help explain how the music relates to certain academic conversations, events in society and my own life.

A.D Carson hopes to continue to change the way Hip-Hop is viewed by academia. He told Salon: “I appreciate that hip-hop is sometimes celebrated in the academic world, but it seems to me that a lot of the excitement focuses on hip-hop as a particular kind of content rather than what it teaches people about other things in the world, many of which aren't hip-hop.”

He continued - “at some point society should be able to both focus on the potency of the lens of hip-hop and also concentrate on what hip-hop brings into view.

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