Loyola Teaching Valuable Music Biz Skills With New Hip-Hop Degree

Aspiring producers, studio engineers, rap artists, singers, and musicians can now hone essential professional music industry skills through a new Urban and Electronic Music Production undergraduate degree program launching at Loyola University New Orleans in Fall 2019.

Taught within the university’s celebrated College of Music and Fine Arts, the bachelor of science degree is the first of its kind in the country.

The class allows students to develop valuable and relevant skill sets in production and performance that translate widely to the ever-changing modern music industry.

Students will also master the latest technology in the university’s state-of-the-art recording studios and studying with industry professionals in Loyola’s acclaimed Music Industry Studies program.

“It’s been 45 years since the birth of hip-hop, so it’s exciting to finally see academia focusing on the genres at the forefront of modern American pop,” said Lovell “U-P” Cooper, a New Orleans-based and Grammy-award-winning hip-hop producer and Loyola faculty member. “We also focus on their business skills and their learning the true business side of the music industry, while giving them a deep understanding of the hip-hop world and its lifestyle, history, and culture.”

Cooper — who both teaches courses in urban music production and live hip-hop performance and runs the recording studios at Loyola — emphasized the immersion aspect of the program.

To stay true to the art form, and to really learn how to produce urban and electronic music, students need a historical context and deep understanding of the culture, lifestyle and music-making of the hip-hop world.

To succeed in the industry, they also need to be grounded in core business skills that prepare them for work in areas “from legal to management to A&R, intellectual property rights, and marketing.” And, they need musicianship.

Rooted in the Jesuit university’s celebrated liberal arts curriculum, the program offers two tracks, one based on production, the other on performance.

Students will master a multitude of music production softwares, learn the intricacies of the studio, and develop a critical ear that proves priceless in the business.

In addition to learning how to navigate the business side of the music industry and use leading studio technology, students will hone their musical craft by studying with professional rappers, singers, and producers while expanding their musical influences in classes that focus on songwriting, poetry, and the history of urban music.

Like the university’s Popular and Commercial Music degree program, the new Urban and Electronic Music Production degree program at Loyola combines music technology, music production, and audio recording classes with courses covering the practices of the modern music business, said Kate Duncan, who currently leads the “PopComm” program at Loyola.

Through regular music industry forums, students hear from campus visitors ranging from studio executives to artists.

With its four professional recording studios and numerous production courses, the Music Industry Studies program has developed a national reputation as a cultivator of upcoming hip-hop talent.

Recent graduates include chart-topping rap superstar G-Eazy (Gerald Gillum, 2011), and Billboard-featured hip-hop producer Christoph Andersson (2014), among others.

“Creative expression comes in many forms, but they all have one thing in common: self-expression creates rights that create businesses that create revenue. The economy of the imagination is a real thing – almost one third of the GDP of this country flows from the monetization of intellectual property. It creates jobs, commerce, and culture,” said John Snyder, chair of the Department of Film and Music Industry Studies.