The Highered Disruption Playlist

I’m not a cultural studies person, at all. I don’t have the chops, at all. I envy people like the brilliant Zandria Robinson who makes it look like baking an EZ Oven cake, but I digress.

I woke up this morning to more MOOC news. In the NY Times, no less. That’s the equivalent of Wonka golden ticket. As I read about the deal to offer Coursera online courses for credit with ten of the nation’s largest public university systems, I mostly accepted the inevitable.

I also had to slow clap and stand.

If you can divorce yourself from your ideological leanings you have to recognize the elegant beauty of a perfectly executed hustle.

The hustle is common to African American cultural lore, particularly our music and no musical form embodies the swagger, braggadocio, unrepentant and gleeful embrace of pure capitalistic hustle like hip hop music.

As a 80s kid I grew up on that soundtrack. Reading today’s NY Times article I immediately began tapping my feet to the memory of hip hop songs of yore.

Disrupt. Uncage. Unleash. Unbundle.

Can’t you hear that being dropped in a 16 bar with the lazy staccato of a Notorious B.I.G.? It’s all there. The terms used to reinvent higher education are masculine, violent even. This isn’t change. This is fundamental disruption. I am not just going to rob you, like a nice stick up boy. No I want you to stop, drop and give me the loot. I don’t just want to possess your bounty. I want to take it from you like MOB. The taking, the unleashing — that’s part of the joie de vivre of it all.

So, amidst the inevitable discussion about what all this means I thought I’d have a little fun and make a soundtrack for all the reading and teeth gnashing.

This is my disruption playlist. What’s yours?

Gimme the Loot — Notorious B.I.G.

Friend or Foe (Parts 1 and 2) — Jay Z

Can’t Knock The Hustle — Jay Z

He’s Got Game — Public Enemy

It Ain’t Hard To Tell — Nas

Mass Appeal — Gang Starr

Shook Ones — Mob Deep

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