“Roots” frontman, drummer and DJ Questlove will be co-teaching a course called “Classic Albums” this spring at the Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.41-year-old Questlove, aka Ahmir ‘?uestlove’ Thompson, will join Universal Music Enterprises vice president of A&R and Grammy winning producer Harry Weinger.
“The two credit class will focus on the concept of what it means for something to be called classic or seminal, as well as take a close look at the music, lyrics, production, business aspects — such as promotion and marketing — that informed the release and reception of the album, and try to provide a context as to why these albums have stood the test of time, according to Jason King, associate professor of recorded music and head of history and criticism at the Institute.
Some records that Questlove will scholarize include Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique, Led Zeppelin IV, Prince’s Dirty Mind, and Aretha Franklin’s Lady Soul.
The musician’s foray into teaching comes after an NPR intern’s dismissive review of Public Enemy’s “It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back” irritated Questlove. The blog post review was part of NPR’s series asking interns to review “classic albums they’d never heard before.”
Questlove responded in the comments, saying “ur (sic) job is to find out why” classic records are considered as such by researching and uncovering the context in which they were first released—which subsequently prompted NYU’s King to reach out to both Questlove and Weinger with the idea for the course.
“We wanted to bring [Questlove] in because we felt he should really be a professor; in a lot of ways he already is an informal, unofficial professor, not just in hip hop but in music in general,” King told Billboard.biz. “He’s one of the smartest people in music, besides being a fantastic musician. We thought [this class] would speak to his strengths.”
Questlove’s turn as professor comes just a week after actor James Franco announced he will be teaching a film production class at USC next spring in the School of Cinematic Arts.
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