A few months ago, I wrote this article in response to some of the comments I read about my EdWeek / Jay-Z article. It was approved, but due to the backlash I received, they took it down. Never mind. I decided to publish it here. Also, look for some of the comments I received on Sunday.
After the last time I attempted convincing educators about Jay-Z’s credentials as a muse for their teaching, I decided that another rapper might be more fitting for this type of exercise: Calvin “Snoop Doggy Dogg” Broadus. Snoop Doggy Dogg a.k.a. Snoop Dogg a.k.a. Snoop has been a muse of mine for some time, and I wish teachers would look beyond the Cadillacs, weed proliferation, and three-quarter naked women and see the honesty, integrity, and intelligence Mr. Broadus brings to the rap game. His lyrical dexterity and contributions to general society have elevated a young kid from the squalor of LA to a premier spot in pop culture.
As educators, we can find many lessons about our own classrooms and professional development right in his records:
It Ain’t No Fun If The Homies Can’t Have None
In the song, Snoop Dogg proliferates the idea of collaboration against all odds. Because of how hard it is for a G to do his thing, Snoop Dogg asks for his team’s help to relieve stress and have fun with his homies. In the same way, teachers should develop professional learning networks to collaborate on what’s best for student learning. As you can tell, such an endeavor will produce handsome rewards.
Drop It Like It’s Hot
In this Neptunes-produced song, Mr. Broadus implores us to consider the situations we consistently encounter and make the most effective choices given the situation. With lyrics like “When the pigs try to get at you, park it like it’s hot,” he understands that his reputation as a thug might find him the opposite of peace, and he prioritizes his well-being over getting in trouble. In the same way, teachers can learn to prioritize the important parts of their teaching. In an era where we’re asked to be superhuman, sometimes it’s more important to choose our battles wisely. Some arguments with students won’t work. Some topics in your curriculum might not go smoothly. And that’s OK. Because you got it going on.
Snoop’s Upside Your Head
In this song, Snoop confides in us the travails of someone who has captured entire audiences with his rhythmic tones and aggressive movements. Every so often, this lifestyle leads to him having to accelerate situations he doesn’t normally encounter. He has to be prepared for any and all situations, especially with those around him who erroneously consider him soft and defenseless. Teachers can learn lots about this when it comes to their students. In their lesson planning, they should consider some of the common errors students come with, whether assessed in their diagnostic tests or not. Sometimes, students come in with deficiencies that we can’t prepare for. As long as we consider alternatives and have an arsenal of solutions in your belt in case students want to pop off. Or something like that.
Though this is technically Dr. Dre’s album, Snoop Dogg ghostwrote a majority of Dr. Dre’s lyrics here, putting his touches on the verses we’ve uttered for decades. In the intro to the legendary album, named “The Chronic,” Dr. Dre and Snoop set the stage for a defining album of its era. They also list the set of issues and concerns they will expound upon during the album. They also dedicate the album to friends-turned-foes in a flippant manner. This relates to educators because we often have our own set of haters. Socially, the list of ed-reformers that don’t have love for educators is plentiful. Students face chronic problems like poverty and environmental racism, but it doesn’t mean we can’t do our best in spite of the odds.
If anything, one thing we can pick up from Snoop’s entire career is the confidence and ease he takes his profession. While he obviously works hard (dozens of hit records to his name), he also has a belief in himself only paralleled by his earthier habits. We as teachers take our typically B-type personalities into an arena that demands so much of us; we should walk into our classrooms with an indisputable confidence.
It ain’t nothin’ but a G thing, baby.
Mr. Vilson, who even likes parodying himself …