During the spring term, Miles Griffis ’11 will attempt what few students have ever attempted in the history of Deerfield: rapping.
When his Creative Writing class drops for the spring, Griffis will replace it with a directed study in rap. He will work on writing lyrics with English teacher Peter Nilsson and music teacher John Van Eps.
“I became interested in hip hop two summers ago after hearing a friend play the song ‘Be’ by Common,” said Griffis.
The type of rap Griffis wants to learn is not the mainstream genre that many people listen to, but rather the works of underground rappers. He doesn’t consider the works of popular artists like Flo Rida and 50 cent meaningful hip hop.
To him these songs just seem like, “standard lyrics mixed with a good beat.” Griffis wants to learn how to rap like underground peformers Blu and Lupe Fiasco.
He believes that many underground rappers are able to make their music meaninful through poetic lyrics. Griffis wants to write lyrics and possibly compose a mixed tape at the end of the spring term.
By using books like Anthology of Rap and Decoded by Jay Z, Griffis plans to study the history of rap from the 1970s up until present day, in addition to writing his own raps.
“I believe studying the history of hip hop will help me gain a better understanding of the culture. I would like to see if I can produce good lyrics and find my style through the various forms of hip hop and slam poetry,” he said.
Griffis also wanted to encourage the Deerfield community to pursue their passions. “Take advantage of directed studies in the spring,” encouraged Griffis. “Find something interesting, something that you know you want to study.”