UR Partners with VMFA to Offer Hip Hop Class to Community

Grammy-nominated Mad Skillz, UR Artist-in-Residence, Leads Lineup of Hip Hop Icons
March 16, 2022

Panel of photos

Editor's Note: This event is sold out as of March 17. 

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Grammy-nominated artist Mad Skillz, artist-in-residence at the University of Richmond, and liberal arts professor Erik Nielson, who teaches in UR’s School of Professional & Continuing Studies, will offer a session of their popular “Voice of Hip Hop” class to the wider Richmond community.

“From Where??? Virginia Hip Hop, Past and Present,” is being hosted by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts at the Leslie Cheek Theater, on March 28, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

This spring marks the third time hip hop scholars Nielson and Skillz have co-taught “Voice of Hip Hop in America” for UR undergraduate and graduate students. A rapper and producer, Mad Skillz recently created the introduction for Jay-Z's Hall of Fame induction. Nielson, a renowned expert on hip hop culture and the intersection of rap lyrics and the law, is the author of the book Rap on Trial. Their class examines hip hop as a social, political, and artistic movement. As part of the course offering in 2018, UR hosted a panel discussion featuring prominent hip hop figure Hank Shocklee.

“This event was well-attended and received, and we realized the appetite to talk about topics related to hip hop culture and its impact,” said Nielson. “When we knew we’d be teaching this class again this spring, we wanted to offer another public opportunity to bring together additional hip hop figures for what we are sure will be a fun and meaningful discussion.” 

Nielson and Skillz will host the following special guests:

  • Marc Cheatham, founder of The Cheats Movement, a hip hop-focused media company;
  • Deandra Clarke, a hip hop dancer, adjunct instructor in UR’s Department of Theatre and Dance, and director of J’Adore Dance Studio in Chesterfield, Virginia; and
  • Michael Millions, a rapper and songwriter.

The panelists will explore questions about the influence of hip hop locally, in Virginia, and nationally.

This event is co-sponsored by the School of Professional & Continuing Studies, UR’s Department of Rhetoric and Communication Studies, and the VMFA.