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Clemson Ph.D. candidate seeks a doctorate with dopeness

A.D. Carson defends 34-track album dissertation

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When I was in high school, I really thought I was doing something by writing my extended essay about the correlation between art and crime with graffiti. Since then, the link between scholarship and the hip-hop community has expanded exponentially.

In 2017, rap and hip-hop culture in the classroom as legitimate academic disciplines have moved past the gimmick or easy electorate phase. We’ve gone from the general, such as celebrity professors like the legendary Bun B teaching class on hip-hop and religion at Rice University in Houston, to the more specific, such as Georgetown University’s Michael Eric Dyson devoting an entire semester to Jay Z alone. These days at Georgia Tech, you can take a class that explores the links between Outkast, trap music and social justice.

But Ph.D. candidate A.D. Carson is taking the next step. Rap music is his academic work, not just a subject he studies. On Friday, he defended his dissertation “Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes and Revolutions,” at Clemson University. Not only is he the first student at the school to forgo that traditional written word for such an assignment, it’s coming at a school with a history that isn’t exactly the most progressive. You might remember Carson’s video “See The Stripes” from 2014.

This also happens to be the school where Dabo Swinney, the head coach of the 2017 College Football Playoff national champions, decided to invoke Martin Luther King Jr. in order to tell people that kneeling for the national anthem was wrong. He’s the same guy, who while making more than $5 million a year to coach unpaid labor, called out players for wanting some actual remuneration for their efforts. Clemson has issues.

His approach was straightforward. He built a studio, asked his friends for help and banged out the album. It’s not like it was his first rodeo. As Aydee The Great, he’s been creating work as an artist for some time. Doing it as a student in the Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design doctoral program is the new part.

Carson has already accomplished a ton. But we’re also rooting for him, just so that if someone ever asks him how he got his doctorate, he can just flip them a mixtape.

Daily Dose: 2/22/17

Magic Johnson knows a thing or two about the game

4:30 PMThis week feels like it’s taking forever. All of yesterday, I thought it was Wednesday, and for whatever reason, even on a short week, today feels like a Monday. My head schedule is all sorts of screwed up.

The White House doesn’t get it. A whole lot of people don’t like their administration (which is perfectly their right), and they’re showing up in different places to tell people that loudly and in public. It’s a fine American tradition, but the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. don’t seem to get that. As a result, every time it happens, they accuse the left of planting people and even paying people to create unrest. It makes no sense, but the official statements are getting more bizarre as the days go on.

Yo, Magic Johnson is a real slick dude. Now that he’s taken over the Los Angeles Lakers, everyone’s wondering, how on earth did this happen? He hinted at the situation a couple of weeks back, but now that it’s real, stories are coming out about just what went down. Turns out, Magic did a bit of dirty-macking to get the ball rolling. Jeanie Buss admitted that he hit her up after she broke up with Phil Jackson and they had dinner. Now, he’s the guy in charge. I mean, do what you gotta do, I guess. Oh, and it looks like he hired a general manager.

Everyone knows I watch a ton of The Bachelor. No shame in my game, it’s a great show and that’s all there is to it. But the production is interesting overall, as well. The booze in the house is always aplenty as we well know. But also, when do they eat? We basically never see anyone putting actual food into their mouths, even when they go on dinner dates. As it turns out, that’s basically for production reasons, but they do eat. What’s really interesting is that they’re allowed to pick their own groceries, too. This story explains the whole setup.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is making moves. Since there’s an eternal debate on how to speed up games, the latest idea is to make intentional walks just a signal that thus allows you to send a runner to first without throwing any pitches. It seems like a bit of a no-brainer, anyway. If it were me, I’d also allow guys to not run the bases if they didn’t want to after homers. As for the other change, both the league and the players union have accepted it. So, the days of wild pitches on walks are over. I will miss that, to be honest.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you know anything about punk and hardcore music, you’re familiar with Bad Brains. One of the original counter-culture groups, their lead singer, H.R., has been an incredibly wild character in the game for decades. Now, he’s battling health issues, so prayers up to him and his family. What a dude.

Snack Time: Gucci Mane’s incredible year is continuing. The man who’s dropped a bunch of pounds and a bunch of music has announced a tour for this summer, which promises to be lit. The bring-outs are going to be bananas.

Dessert: Every once in a while, you just need to watch fuzzy animals play.

Daily Dose: 2/21/17

Popeyes may be getting a makeover

12:00 PMThe Morning Roast gang was up at headquarters Monday to fill in for Russillo & Kanell. It was a great time. Here are the three hours: One. Two. Three. Do us a huge favor though. Go to our iTunes page, subscribe and review!

President Donald Trump went to the museum, y’all. The president paid a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture and brought along his Black Man-In-Chief, Ben Carson. Apparently, he didn’t need to take his coat off during the trip, either. Then, in a moment precisely befitting of this administration, press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted a picture of the event, but erroneously tagged the National Museum of African Art before deleting it and getting it right.

When it comes to fried chicken, where do you rank Popeyes? For some people, it’s the top of the heap. I’m more of a Bojangles guy myself. But in the world of what is essentially fast food, Popeyes is a major player. Now, it looks like another big-timer could swallow them up. See what I did there? That’s a food joke. Anyway, there are rumors that Burger King might buy out Popeyes, which is a tad odd. I really hope they don’t screw around with a bunch of crossover stores, because the smell of Popeyes alone is sacrosanct.

Roxane Gay is not here for the games. Remember when she pulled out of her own book deal with Simon & Schuster because of the publisher’s willingness to give Milo Yiannopoulos a platform? Well, she’s not giving Simon & Schuster any extra credit just because the company finally dropped him after he made some gross remarks regarding pedophilia. The basic gist of the story is that this man was harmful well before those particular comments. A lot of people are implying that Yiannopoulos’ free speech rights have been infringed. Nope, that’s not how that works.

It’s pretty clear that the Sacramento Kings have no idea what they’re doing. They traded away DeMarcus Cousins, which in itself wasn’t the worst move ever, but no one trusts them to do the right thing anyway with what they get. Vlade Divac is the man running that operation and it appears that his lack of managerial experience is starting to catch up with him. Now, he’s saying that he actually had a better trade offer a couple days before, but didn’t pull the trigger, because … well, who knows. Logic escapes us in this one.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Because hip-hop is now just another basic tenet of pop culture, occasionally its tentacles reach into traditional outlets that we’re not used to seeing. Such as questions on Jeopardy! about various rappers or lyrics. But every once and awhile you realize that not everyone is into rap music. Watch this embarrassing effort.

Snack Time: If someone ever tells you to stick to sports, just know that Bill Belichick is going to be voicing a World War II documentary.

Dessert: This might be the single most fascinating chart I’ve ever seen.

Daily Dose: 2/20/17

Bow to your new (Lion) king, Donald Glover

11:00 AMHappy Monday, kiddos! If you missed Highly Questionable Friday, here you go. Also, there were a lot conspiracy theories discussed on The Morning Roast. Lastly, we’re filling in for Russillo & Kanell on ESPN Radio, 1-4 p.m. EST today.

It’s Presidents Day, so let’s talk about ours. The weekend proved a few things about President Donald Trump. First of all, he kicked off his 2020 campaign less than a month into his own administration with a rally in Florida, seemingly because he needs constant adulation. He then made a claim about an incident in Sweden that never happened. The Swedes weren’t happy about it. But perhaps most importantly, he fired a senior appointee after it was found that he had criticized Trump in a private speech. Loyalty over expertise. Good luck finding a replacement.

Sidney Poitier is a national treasure. Today is his 90th birthday, and if you haven’t spent a large chunk of your life with his films, you need to. You know him for quite a few iconic roles: A Raisin In The Sun, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and, perhaps, Uptown Saturday Night. But you might not know that his best friend is Harry Belafonte, the singer and activist with whom he shares the same age. They’ve been tight since they were 20 years old and the story of their bond is really quite remarkable.

If you don’t like Donald Glover, that sucks for you. The man is all over Hollywood, and now, he’s going to be a part of an epic Disney remake: The Lion King. He’ll be playing Simba. It’s getting a reboot as a live-action film, which considering the success of The Jungle Book and the upcoming Beauty and the Beast was bound to happen. The Lion King is going to be a little more difficult, considering that there are no actual humans in that story. Nonetheless it’s an excellent pick and we are very much looking forward to the soundtrack.

LeBron James is about way more than basketball. If we’re being honest, his basketball career isn’t exactly coming to a close, but his days as the guy who can carry a single team on his back all the way to an NBA championship might be, which is fine. His legacy is more than secure after bringing a title to Cleveland. So, it’s time to look beyond that. He’s already got a production company that’s been rather successful. So, the next obvious step for the king to take over? Hollywood, duh.

Free Food

Coffee Break: It’s becoming harder and harder to defend Uber. We’ve all heard the stories of drivers sexually assaulting people and the company not being exactly responsive to complaints about it, but this latest essay on what the working environment is inside the actual company is worth your time. It does not paint a pretty picture.

Snack Time: Oddisee is perhaps the most thoughtful and politically conscious rapper in the game right now. This NPR interview with him about his latest album, The Iceberg, is excellent.

Dessert: Y’all are wrong for this, I swear.