Episode 112: Hip-Hop and the Academy, with Taj Frazier

Robeson Taj Frazier is an associate professor of communication and director of IDEA (the Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg), as well as the author of The East is Black: Cold War China in the Black Radical Imagination and KAOS Theory: The Afrokosmic Ark of Ben Caldwell, and producer of IT’S YOURS: A Story About Hip-Hop and the Internet and Hip-Hop and the Metaverse on PBS. Reflecting on his roots and early influences, he takes us through his journey from New Jersey to China to academia, having produced both books and multimedia along the way.

Here are some of the references from this episode, for those who want to dig a little deeper:

Robeson Taj Frazier
IDEA: Institute for Diversity & Empowerment @ Annenberg

The East Is Black: Cold War China in the Black Radical Imagination
KAOS Theory: The Afrokosmic Ark of Ben Caldwell

IT’S YOURS documentary
Hip-Hop and the Metaverse | PBS

Early influences:
Mr T. as B.A. Baracus on the A-Team
GI Joe
August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson with Charles S. Dutton
Watermelon Man

American Culture in China (1990s):
Mariah Carey / Yanni
W.E.B. DuBois
Paul Robeson
Darlie toothpaste

Marguerite de Bourgoing

The Misadventures of AWKWARD Black Girl (Issa Rae)

Tricia Rose

Lupe Fiasco


Ben Caldwell / KAOS Network:
Project Blowed, a workshop space utilized by:
The Pharcyde, Freestyle Fellowship, Doja Cat, Kendrick Lamar
Leimert Phone Company project

MIT Radiation Laboratory history / video

Welcome to Meta

Second Life

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“In Time” by Dylan Emmett and “Spaceship” by Lesion X.
In Time (Instrumental) by Dylan Emmet  
Spaceship by Lesion X 
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
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Free Download / Stream: 
Music promoted by Audio Library 

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