education

THE PHILANTHROPIC POETRY OF NAS
June 30, 2016 1:26 pm

Who’s World is This? (The World is Yours The World is Yours) It’s Mine It’s Mine It’s Mine, Who’s World is This?

This year, the world clearly belongs to Nas. Everyone else is just living in it.

Nasir Jones–better known by his stage name Nas–is consistently ranked among the top rappers of all time. He’s been spitting bricks about social justice for minorities and growing up in the Queensbridge housing projects since he dropped his 1994 Illmatic, an essential hip-hop classic. Since then seven of his records have been certified platinum–he is an undisputed master, an urban poet laureate.

Even Harvard University can’t deny his profound impact on culture.

In 2013, Nas forged a partnership with the Ivy League School, thus establishing the Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellowship with the broad intention of funding scholars and artists who demonstrate exceptional creative ability in the arts, in connection with Hip Hop. Now I know what your thinking–Harvard?! But hip-hop is less than 50 years old, has introduced sampling to the general collective conscious, and has been a key factor in not only enabling people of all backgrounds to think critically about society, but also acting as a tool for minorities to offer a strong sense of community and an expression of life through the eyes of the silenced. The Hip Hop Archive & Research Institute and the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute will utilize the fellowship to bring in hip hop talent, fund projects, and allow the next generation of underprivileged poets to reach the pinnacle of academic achievement. It doesn’t stop there. In addition to helping pave the way for the next generation of hip-hop talent, Nas also wants to shake up the white and male-dominated tech sphere.

Nas isn’t alone in his assertion that Silicon Vally doesn’t have a diverse enough workplace–especially when you factor in that California is also one of the most diverse states in the country. Even Google admitted they needed to work on diversity when they released this report a few years ago. Then in 2014, the Internet services giant, along with Nas and software mainstay Microsoft, began collaboratively funding an initiative by The General Assembly (GA). The New York-based vocational program specializes in providing scholarships to underrepresented African Americans, Latinos and women that want to persuit a career in software engineering and web design. Pretty cool stuff Nas.

If you’re still unimpressed, Nas isn’t done giving back quite yet either. Nas will be hosting a free music festival for you New Yorkers this summer! In collaboration with his own Mass Appeal Magazine, Live At The BBQ will feature Ty Dolla $ign, DJ Shadow, Danny Brown, and Machine Gun Kelly.

THE NEW HOME FOR GAME MUSIC ENTHUSIASTS
June 14, 2016 12:23 am

Do you listen to soundtracks? Are John Williams and Marty O’Donnell your idols? Do you have epic scores constantly forming in your head? ThinkSpace Education is starting three different video game audio Masters programs that you can do from the comfort of your own bed.

These programs will be starting in September and so if you want in, better start looking into it. This will be the first ever Masters Degree(s) based in video game music and sound design. A number of people who teach are those who have worked on various famous scores, for example: Assassin’s Creed, Dragon Age, Bioshock 2 and Mass Effect. These are some of the biggest names in the industry and they would be your tutors and mentors. Pretty amazing right? Well, it gets better. 

Your job as a student would involve testing games, creating scores and sounds for those games while familiarizing yourself with a vast amount of software and hardware, most of which is used by professionals every day. The games you work on are not only trials created for virtual classroom learning, but are also part of the formation of a commercial game. That means some of your own work, or the work of your fellow students at this school, may be present in some of the games you and your friends play in the future. 

I could go on about the possibilities. ThinkSpace’s site is filled with so much stuff I have no shortage of topics to discuss about music and the games they accompany. But to wrap up, they have three specific areas to dive into. The first is in music and audio, a focus on how the music and audio interacts and portrays the game. The second is in composing, taking musical genius to the max with scores that grab the player and can even be interactive and ever changing. The third is sound design; every gunshot, animal growl and transforming robot has a unique sound, and you would be the one creating it.

If I was more involved or passionate about sound design and score developing, I would’ve applied when I first learned of it days ago. I’m not trying to sell you on this place or anything, it just seems like an awesome opportunity to expand your knowledge on something so simultaneously creative and technical. If this sounds like you, ThinkSpace is the perfect place.