Ryerson University Professor to Teach Course on Drake and the Weeknd

Phin Choukas

Ryerson University Professor and host of the Rogers Media podcast, Dalton Higgins, is offering a course titled “Deconstructing Drake and The Weeknd” next year. The course will examine both Canadian superstars’ rise to fame and the conditions that made their success possible in the Toronto music scene. Higgins is no stranger to hip-hop, and has written four pop culture books, including  “Hip Hop” and “Hip Hop World,” which have been circulated and taught in classrooms across North America.

Drake is the highest-certified digital singles artist in the US, holding four Grammy awards and a whopping 29 Billboard Music awards. His most recent album, “Certified Lover Boy,” debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 and broke the record for most first week sales in 2021. The Weeknd is one of the hottest artists in 2021, holding 3 Grammy awards and multiple music chart records including holding the top three positions on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart simultaneously. His most recent album “After Hours,” released in 2020, broke the record for the most global pre-adds in Apple Music history and is widely acknowledged as his best work thus far.

Higgins elaborated on his decision to create a course on the two music icons. “Why Drake & The Weeknd, one might ask? Well, there are great courses out there being taught about numerous rock, folk and pop stars like Miley Cyrus, Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, so why not The Weeknd and Drizzy. Also, I’ve been kicking around the Hip Hop Ed scene for years and have seen some great courses being taught in the USA about Jay Z (Georgetown University), Outkast (Armstrong State University), Beyonce (there are MANY Bey courses; Arizona State, University of Texas; Rutgers University). Plus, the University of Arizona offers a minor in Hip Hop studies, and Mcnally Smith College in Minnesota offers a hip hop diploma.”

“Nevertheless, it’s time to get our Canadian rap & R&B icons recognized and canonized academically or otherwise. And it is CRITICAL for scholars, historians, to examine the Toronto music scene that birthed Drake/Weeknd and helped create the conditions for them to become mega-successful.”“Deconstructing Drake and The Weeknd” will be offered during the 2022 winter term at Ryerson University.

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