The Rap on Mr. Duey
Posted Apr 16 2008
As I was viewing the incoming news blurbs on my site I came across an article whose headline read "Experts Say Educational Rap CD "Mr. Duey" will revolutionize learning. Naturally as a MC/writer and former substitute teacher this sparked my curiosity. After reading the article about a teacher who is putting out an Educational Rap CD and seeing that he was "white" I had to find out more. With that, I went to his site and immediately requested an interview. During the interview I was glad to see that Mr. Duey didn't come off across as some guy who is just trying to pimp hip-hop and say that it is for the betterment of education, but as someone who had a genuine interest in trying to relate to the kids on a pragmatic level. Mr. Duey also expressed interest trying to align himself with other like minded individuals within the hip-hop community. Peep the interview and let me know what your thoughts are.
BG-So how long have you been teaching?
MR. D- I finished up my student teaching last winter and I did my student teaching at South Gate (Michigan).
BG-How did the project come about? Had you been doing music prior to teaching?
Mr.D- I've been doing music since my junior year of high school, so it's been about ten years now. A typical rap back in high school, I was rapping about what everyone else was. Bling, getting cheese... I got into college and was having trouble with my tests and began making raps about the material to help myself pass the tests. If you know a rap than the knowledge is in your head. It continued into my student teaching and for my curriculum unit I did a measurement song. I'd come up wit a verse a day whether it was for fractions, centimeters, or inches. That's where the idea came from because it was like man these kids really love this; they're having fun and doing well.
BG-What was the process from the initial songs to the concept of the whole project?
Mr.D- In the summer I was with my manager and we knew that we wanted to keep going but we didn't know whether or not we wanted to just do a math unit or rather we should do a compilation CD almost with things from each subject that students were struggling with on standardized test. We did some research and the rest is history.
BG-A lot of times alternative teaching strategies aren't easily adopted by administrative people, how have those people reacted to what you are doing?
Mr. D-When I first brought up the idea for the first song, it just so happened that my principal was also a musician. He wasn't into hip-hop but he knew that that's what the kids were into so he was pleased with the idea. The head of the math department played the song in her class and was happy because he kids scores increased over 50% on a linear fractions quiz.
BG- What would you say to those who might say that this is an attempt to pimp hip-hop?
Mr.D- Well, I was listening to Lil' Scrappy the other day and he said don't front or be fake rap about what you do. What I do is teaching. They say keep it real. I don't see how I can get much realer than that.
BG- What's next for Mr. Duey?
Mr.D- We're just trying to get more videos up. We have gotten a really good response to the fractions video. I think audio is one thing but the audio and visuals cement that connection to the subject matter. Try to start an after school program for kids who are interested in hip-hop and show them how to do it and keep rolling with the CD's.
Check the original article here which includes an audio of this interview.
Check out Mr. Duey's site.