The intensive Hip Hop Studies program is designed to help you grow as an artist and develop your skills as a writer, producer and performer. You’ll learn firsthand how to engineer and record your own music and make your own beats using the latest music hardware and software. Through workshops and classes like Emcee Techniques and the Language of Rap and Spoken Word, you’ll get valuable feedback from industry pros to help sharpen your lyric writing, delivery and flow. You’ll also learn essential music business skills like management, contract law, booking, marketing and promotion, giving you the knowledge and experience to thrive as an independent artist and entrepreneur.
By building a solid musical foundation combined with an understanding of music technology and the entertainment industry, you’ll be prepared to succeed in a variety of career paths.
Ready For The Real World
As a Hip-Hop Studies major you’ll receive a hands-on education in a real world environment. You’ll gain stage experience through the many live performance opportunities on campus and around the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area. You’ll also have access to state-of-the-art studios and skilled session musicians as you write, produce and record your own material. During your time in the program, you’ll build a portfolio of work that showcases your talent and highlights your technical abilities. You’ll also create a press kit and develop a social media strategy to help promote your audio resume and market yourself as an artist.
You’ll get a head start on your music career by building your professional network while you’re still in school. And with access to guest artists, internships and the thriving Twin Cities music scene, you’ll be connected to the industry before you graduate.
Teaching For Tomorrow
To succeed as an emcee, deejay or producer, you need a well-rounded education that prepares you for the dynamic future of music. That’s why our Hip-Hop Studies diploma program focuses on developing your creativity while giving you the necessary technology skills to adapt and compete in the industry. You’ll also graduate equipped
With a comprehensive education that blends artistry, technology and entrepreneurship, you’ll be ready to make and sustain a life in music.
Your Career Path
Graduates of the Hip-Hop Studies program are prepared for a variety of career options, including:
- Music/Record Producer
- Event Deejay
- Artist Management
- Marketing and Promotions
- Social Media Development
- Radio/TV/Web Series Host
- Community Education
- Teaching Artist
Studios & Facilities
Our campus features 3 performance venues, 6 technology labs, and 11 recording studios where students learn to record, edit and mix music and audio.
There’s a lot to explore outside of class, including student organizations, free concerts, music ensembles, and the diverse music and art scene of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
FacultyView All Faculty >>
Toki Wright is a Twin Cities-based emcee, poet, community organizer and Rhymesayers Entertainment recording artist. He has been featured on recordings by Atmosphere, C-Rayz Walz, P.O.S. and more, and his performance credits include Scribble Jam, SXSW, Coachella, Bumbershoot, Sons d’Hiver and A Prairie Home Companion. Wright tours throughout the U.S. and Canada as an opening act and hype man for Brother Ali, and is a member of the groups The C.O.R.E., The Chosen Few and Toki Wright and Big Cats.
As a community organizer, Wright has led the nationally recognized youth organization YO! The Movement (featured in The Source magazine), coordinated seven Twin Cities Celebration of Hip-Hop Festivals, and taught hip-hop history and performance to former child soldiers in Gulu, Northern Uganda with the organization H.E.A.L.S. Wright’s awards include winner of the Twin Cities Hip-Hop Award in 2007, Artist of the Year (KMOJ Radio) in 2006, 2003 Artist of the Year (Star Tribune), Minnesota Music Award Nominee for Best Hip-Hop Recording, and Top 10 Albums of the Year (Star Tribune). He has appeared as a Coach on MTV’s Made. Two of his songs with the group The C.O.R.E. are featured in the film Justice, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
Freddy Fresh (born Frederick Schmid) is among the most active and prolific American underground dance music artists, having released more than a hundred records on dozens of different labels worldwide. Born in St. Paul Minnesota, Fresh’s name is more often associated with the London scene, to which he relocated in the late ’90s after having top-40 chart success with two of his songs. His first work behind the boards came via Bronx legends Boogie Down Productions. Shortly thereafter, he began piecing together a studio, collecting many of the ancient analog and modular synthesizers that give his records their distinct, studio-jam feel.
In 1992, after releasing debut singles on Nu Groove and Silvo Tancredis’ Experimental imprint, Fresh established his first label, Analog Recordings, to release his own tracks. His label empire then grew to include a host of sub labels, including Analog UK, Butterbeat, Electric Music Foundation, Socket and Boriqua. Fresh’s third album, The Last True Family Man, followed on Harthouse Eye Q and spawned two international chart hits, along with a song featuring Fat Boy Slim. His music has also enjoyed commercial success with releases featured in films like Austin Powers - Goldmember, Jackie Chan’s Tuxedo and commercials by Adidas, Budweiser and Coors. Fresh also tours regularly and has performed in over 34 countries and appeared on MTV Canada, Club TV, S2, House Viva TV and Club Spain, as well as over 300 radio programs throughout the world including 2 sessions for the legendary late John Peel of Radio One BBC England.
$12,870 per semester for full-time attendance (13-17 credits)
- Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree: 60 credits
- Diploma: 45 credits
$990 per credit for part-time attendance More info >>
On average, more than $1 million in College-funded aid is awarded annually in the form of merit-based scholarships and need-based grants. More than 85% of our students receive financial assistance to help cover their educational costs.
Click here to learn about the many resources available to help pay for college.
Gainful Employment Statistics
McNally Smith College of Music is institutionally and programmatically accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and is registered with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. More info >>