Tauheed Rahim II, also known as rapper Marco Pavé, was named as Georgetown’s first hip-hop artist-in-residence this fall, working directly with students through the department of performing arts and department of African American studies.
Before coming to Georgetown, Rahim, a hip-hop and performing artist and an educator and arts entrepreneurship advocate, served as a Memphis Music Initiative Teaching Fellow, bringing hip-hop music, culture and activism to middle and high school students.
Rahim will host a series of panels and events sponsored by the department of performing arts and the department of African American studies entitled, “Critical Frequencies: Live from the Southern hip-hop Stage,” over the 2019-20 school year. These events will discuss entrepreneurship, culture, fashion, politics, social justice and music business in the context of hip-hop.
Rahim hopes the series will help students who are less familiar with hip-hop engage with the discipline.
“You don’t have to be a rapper, you don’t have to be trying to make beats, you don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to be a practitioner of hip-hop to learn from hip-hop,” Rahim said in an interview with The Hoya. “I learn from hip-hop artists on the day to day by building confidence, by building self-efficacy, by building things that just help me navigate the world.”
The series will also include events directed at students with a specific interest in music, like open studio sessions, beat-making workshops, as well as bring other artists to campus through the department of performing arts, according to Rahim.
“If students are interested in coming in to check out how life in the studio is with the artist making a song, we’ll be doing stuff like that,” Rahim said.
Professor Anthony DelDonna, director of the Georgetown music program, hopes Rahim’s work will elevate the music department program by putting greater emphasis on hip-hop as an academic discipline, an area which had been missing from the American musical culture major until now, he said in an interview with The Hoya.
“Our major is a major in American musical culture. So, what does that mean? The types of music that are created, practiced, performed in the Americas,” DelDonna said in an interview with The Hoya. “But it’s not just the classical tradition. It’s jazz, it’s blues, but what’s really been missing from our curriculum is hip-hop, which is a dominant cultural force.”
Rahim will also be the first yearlong academic resident at Georgetown, which makes the project more ambitious than previous similar efforts that were semesterly positions, according to DelDonna.
“What we’ve always done is residencies, so a very limited impact where an artist or a group of artists will come in for a handful of days or maybe even a week at a time and work with students on a very limited engagement — a very focused, concentrated, intense engagement,” DelDonna said.
Rahim’s residency is sponsored by two departments, which offers a more integrative curriculum, according to professor Soyica Colbert, chair of the department of performing arts and professor of African American studies.
“This residency is also a collaboration with African American Studies, which both signals the interdisciplinarity of hip-hop Studies and the importance of the arts in various modes of knowledge production,” Colbert wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Much of Rahim’s musical and personal inspiration comes from his hometown of Memphis, Tenn., he said. His first philanthropic venture was a fundraiser called “Books on Beale,” which collected books and established centers to encourage higher literacy rates in the city. Rahim has traveled the United States to speak at universities about the use of the arts to affect social justice.
This series will emphasize the importance of southern hip-hop because of Rahim’s Tennessee upbringing, he said.
“Memphis is a music town so everything about Memphis is around music: soul, jazz, the blues, all of those different types of songs were constantly in rotation in my house,” Rahim said. “I came of age listening to Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, so in this 2005 to 2011 era was just like, very, very significant for southern rap but also for my own growth as an artist and a person.”
The first Critical Frequencies event, “Sneakers and Speakers” will be held this Friday, Oct. 4, in McNeir Hall.