A thoughtful discussion on how 9th Wonder’s scholarly hip-hop pursuits are immortalizing a culture
Past guests include Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali and Oliver Sacks, amongst literally hundreds of others. Sadly, they don’t dip into music (or even entertainment) very often, unless their subject falls flush at the cross-section of their field and some corner of policy, science or education. As hip-hop’s first fellow at Harvard University, 9th Wonder, and his scholarly pursuits were a natural fit for the longest running program on Public Broadcasting. In their 30-minute chat, 9th and the show’s host/heir, Alexander Heffner (whose grandfather, Richard D. Heffner, created the show) delve into the seemingly impossible task put before the North Carolina producer and accredited hip-hop historian: canonizing a culture and its respective movements as to both celebrate its impact and subject it to the same academic vigor afforded to jazz, blues and classical forms of music.