Who knew that GZA wasn’t kidding around when he wrote his 1991 debut album “Words from the Genius”? The iconic rapper, famous for co-founding the hip hop group the Wu-Tang Clan, is thriving in a side career as a high school teacher.
According to a CBS news story, 46-year-old GZA, aka Gary Grice, has teamed up with Dr. Chris Emdin from Columbia University's Teachers College to use hip hop to teach science and math to teenage students. In the particular class featured in the news story, students in Ms. McDaniel's science class in a New York high school are learning the reproductive system by writing raps and performing them to each other.
"The goal is just to awaken the children, make them more aware and embrace science and everything connected to it," GZA said. GZA is apparently a vocal science and space enthusiast who was once a guest on StarTalk with renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who dropped out of school in the tenth grade. GZA and deGrasse Tyson are also reportedly working on a space-inspired album together, but a release date has not been confirmed yet.
The Science Genius BATTLES program launched in December 2012, and is now featured in 10 New York City high schools “with populations who traditionally don't do as well in science.”
"I am here not as a teacher, nor expert, not genius, but I'm here as a science enthusiast who wants to inspire New York City public high school students to get excited about biology, chemistry and physics," said GZA when the program launched.
According to some students in Ms. McDaniels’s class, it’s working.
"You are looking at the rhymes and there is something hidden in there, that you find and it helps you learn," said 14-year-old Ryan Rivera.