LOS ANGELES – Detroit-based producer Apollo Brown is giving his time to the students of the Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program, the nation’s first full time educational Hip Hop program for middle and high school students. Since 2006, the Los Angeles program has been using Hip Hop culture and Rap music as a medium to helps students develop a sense of global awareness and critical thinking skills.
In early December 2010, program founder Sebastien Elkouby gave his students the task of writing lyrics to random Hip Hop instrumentals found on Youtube. As a fan of Apollo Brown, Elkouby recommended some of the producer’s music to his students. They reacted so enthusiastically that Elkouby decided to contact Apollo and his team to let them know that a group of students almost 2000 miles away was writing to his music. Elkouby didn’t expect the response. “Apollo’s team offered to have him reach out to the students through Skype,” he says. “Apollo reached out to me personally and provided me with more instrumentals to give students. We decided to have the students use their Christmas break to finish writing and prepare to perform their songs for him via Skype. The students are extremely excited.” Elkouby adds, “Hip Hop artists are often negatively portrayed in the mainstream media. Apollo proves that artists give back when given the opportunity to do so. Hopefully, the media can show the positive side of Hip Hop.”
As for his involvement with the program, Apollo Brown says, “When I first heard about the program I thought it was unbelievable that Hip Hop was being taught in the schools. I was also extremely excited that my music was being used as part the curriculum. It actually gave me inspiration and a certain encouragement that real Hip Hop has a chance with the younger listeners. I’m definitely eager to talk with the students and learn how my music has affected them in any way and can’t wait to hear what each student was inspired to write. I just want them to be open to all kinds of music and not just what they hear on the radio and/or see on TV. Being well rounded is important, even within a specific genre.”
The Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture program is currently in its 5th year. Apollo Brown’s Skype session is schedule to take place by the end of January 2011.
About the Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program
The Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program is an innovative music, language arts, and social studies program designed to assist low-performing students in developing their language skills, life skills, and global awareness through culturally responsive pedagogy.
Apollo Brown is Detroit’s go-to Hip Hop producer. Having worked with indie rap royalty like Little Brother and Black Milk, Apollo’s recent production work on highly acclaimed album, Gas Mask, is his latest offering.