‘We’ll Peel Back the Layers’: Canadian University to Offer Course on Grammy Award Winners Drake and The Weeknd

An academic course covering Drake and The Weeknd, two of the biggest acts to ever come out of Canada, will soon be available to students at Toronto’s X University soon-to-be- renamed Ryerson University’s The Creative School. 

Starting in the winter semester, the institution will offer a class called “Deconstructing Drake & The Weeknd,” the university announced in a recent news release. The course will be taught by Ryerson professor-in-residence and former NOW writer Dalton Higgins. 

Canadian university offers course that studies Drake and The Weeknd. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images, Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ABA,

Higgins told the outlet that this course will mirror an academic trend taking place in colleges and universities in America–the teaching of courses on hip hop and their respective contributors. 

“On the U.S. college and university scene there are all kinds of courses being taught about rock, folk, pop artists like Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen – so why shouldn’t there be a course about Drake and the Weeknd right here in Toronto?” Higgins argued.

“On American college campuses, there are easily more than 300 hip-hop courses being taught about artists like Jay Z, OutKast, Beyoncé (there are a lot of Beyoncé courses). Many Ivy League universities including Harvard and Cornell, have fully embraced hip-hop education, so we can do the same here,” he added. 

Higgins believes Drake and The Weeknd haven’t received the flowers they deserve and that with everything they’ve accomplished in their careers as artists and especially as Black entertainers, there’s much to learn.

“When you have two Black artists born and bred in Toronto who perform rap, R&B and pop, and who are arguably well on their way to becoming billionaires at some point in time, there is apparently a lot to learn,” the author continued. “Remember, they both blew up despite being products of a local Canadian music scene that does very little to foster the growth of its Black music practitioners.”

Higgins’ courses look to help students look at the acts’ past their lyrics and visuals. “Did race, gender, class, faith play into any of this?” he stated. “Drake and the Weeknd are both real human beings, which means that, like most humans, they are going to do and say intriguing and confounding things, so we’ll peel back the layers on some of that [too].”

The podcaster hopes that with his course, “students will ask tough questions about their music, race, class, subject matter, music production, lyrics.” 

Starting January 2022, “Deconstructing Drake & The Weeknd,”  will be offered as one of the flagship courses for The Creative School’s Professional Music BA program, Canada’s “first transdisciplinary professional music undergraduate program,” according to the university.

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