The year 2019 is an era where Hip-Hop has since graduated from a microphone for the marginalized and has transformed into a cornerstone of popular culture, swaying social trends, dominating charts, and creating a Pulitzer Prize winner in the process.
Equally, hip-hop has begun to seep into academia, with institutions broadening the scope of their curricula, developing genre-oriented coursework, inviting hip-hop figures into their hallways. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, a collective at Harvard University is on a mission to make such instances last beyond just a trend, and turn it into the norm. Founded by rising seniors Marcelo Hanta-Davis and Miles Weddle, both 21, No Label has been responsible for a number of high-profile industry masterclasses hosted at one of the world’s most renowned schools. To date, their track record includes invitees such as Dre London, Love Renaissance, J.I.D and SinceThe80s, Terrace Martin and Travis Scott, a list that includes a mix of college dropouts and those who haven’t gone to college at all.
“Hip-hop has become pop culture at this point,” says Weddle, a sociology student. “To not have it on a campus like Harvard’s would be a glaring deficiency in everyone’s education.”
The project is the result of a friendship and partnership that first took root within the microcosm of Harvard’s famed Annenberg dining hall. The idea was to find a way to provide a platform for the likes of London and LVRN to outline their own personal and professional journeys while providing insight for young hopefuls curious about the entertainment industry. Bringing together a common love at the intersection of the arts and business, the duo, along with a dedicated team of peers, have built out a viable organization working to amplify the narrative of the arts. In a conversation earlier this year, we discussed how No Label came to be, the impact of hip-hop on Harvard’s campus, the college admissions scandal and how New England’s music scene is shifting.