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Prof to Teach Class on Drake, the Weeknd: 'It's Time'

Canada's Ryerson University is offering deep-dive course on Toronto-born performers
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2021 8:13 AM CDT
Undergrads Here Can Study Drake, the Weeknd
In this Oct. 8, 2016, file photo, Drake performs in Toronto.   (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – If you're an undergrad at the Creative School, part of Toronto's Ryerson University, there's a class on Aubrey Drake Graham and Abel Makkonen Tesfaye that may interest you. Don't recognize those names? You likely know them as Drake and the Weeknd, and if you want to know them even better than that, Ryerson's course is offering a deep dive into the artists, both born in the Ontario capital, starting next semester, reports CNN.

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"Deconstructing Drake & The Weeknd," set to be taught by professor-in-residence Dalton Higgins beginning in January, will pore over the lyrics of the Grammy-winning artists, as well as examine the larger Toronto music scene to see how it helped propel both men to their success. For example, Higgins notes, "what people tend to forget about Drake is that he's actually a great writer. He employs all kinds of literary devices like metaphors, iambic pentameter, [and] similes, so we're going to deconstruct his lyrics and examine how he puts his songs together."

The class, which will serve as one of the flagship courses in the Creative School's BA program for professional music, will also study the performers in the context of culture and race and take a closer look at their business savvy, considering they both came from "humble origins," according to Higgins. "When you peel back the layers, you're going to notice how their branding and entrepreneurship is actually insane," he notes, adding that he hopes to inspire other young artists with the duo's success stories.

Higgins says that other colleges and universities have offered courses on popular rock and folk performers such as Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, and Miley Cyrus, as well as hip-hop stars like Beyonce and Outkast, "so why shouldn't there be a course about Drake and the Weeknd?," per the CBC. He notes to CNN that "it's time to get our Canadian rap and R&B icons recognized and canonized, academically or otherwise," adding: "When you have these two Black Canadian artists from Toronto who are ... arguably on their way to becoming billionaires ... there is a lot to learn from them." (Read more Drake stories.)

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