9 Rappers with College Degrees

Many more icons went to college, a lot of them are not featured in the list. Some names include Ryan Leslie, Diddy, Young MC, Mos Def, Ice Cube, etc. So, if you think all MCs have no good grades, you thought wrong.

When it comes to hip-hop, most people think that coming from the streets enhances your image because that’s where the genre was born. Because of this, it still comes as a surprise to most people when you mention the top most educated rappers. Many famous figures in rap earned a college degree. If you’re keen, you can hear this in their intelligent rhymes.

However, some went to university but dropped out to concentrate on their career. After finding success, some institutions, like Carolina Central University, have recognized and celebrated these musicians with honorary papers. 

Here is a list of rappers with a degree:

1. Childish Gambino

Donald Glover is one of the most multi-talented artists. He worked as a network television writer immediately after completion t and is well known for starring, writing, and directing the popular Atlanta TV series. The stage name is his alter-ego in the hip-hop world. He has been one of the most outstanding artists in that scene despite it being a side project to him. He prides himself on one EP, five mixtapes, and three albums. “This Is America” is one of his most iconic songs. His creativity is an excellent example of what individuals with degrees can do.

The dream began at NYU’s Tisch School of Arts. This institution, which is also known for creating different music production courses, is the Alma Mater to many famous artists. Glover was a Dramatic Writing major who became a graduate in 2006. According to his interviews, he feels very positively about his studies.

2. David Banner

Lavell William Crump was born in 1974. He is a famous director, American rapper, activist, and philanthropist. He earned his undergraduate degree from Southern University, and his master’s in Education from Maryland Eastern Shore University.

3. Talib Kweli

If you click any article ranking the greatest artists of many generations, TK is one name that will appear at the top. He also happens to be one of the individuals with a degree. In one of his interviews he mentioned that he had grown up in a literate family. His mum was an English professor, while his father was a sociologist and administrator. His brother is a law professor.

When growing up, Kweli wrote stories and poetry and later started rapping as a way to gain fame among schoolmates. He joined New York University to study theater. Melissa Coldwell – a music producer and a researcher of performing arts, who also works as a writer for PapersOwl, states: “His intricate, dense rhymes are what made him stand out. The art created by Talib Kweli is something that grasps the listeners’ attention from the second they hear it”. She goes on to add: “His literary gift fills his lyrics with so many layers, it helped the acclaimed rapper to become media darling”.

4. J Cole

Regarded as one of the best modern emcees, the North Carolina rapper credits his work to his time as a student at St. John’s University in Jamaica, Queens. He joined the institution on an academic scholarship. He finished in 2007 with a business degree even after juggling between going to class and studio. 

St John’s administration invited the Fayetteville town-born Cole to headline the spring concert for years after he left.

5. Kanye West

YE is a fashion mogul besides being a talented rapper, singer, and songwriter. The multi-talented man went to high school in his home city and later studied at the American Academy of Art under assistance. KW attended Chicago State University to study English but left to focus on his career.

6. Ludacris

Born Christopher Luda, the rapper was very bright. He graduated summa c## laude from Georgia State University. He did music management which helped him launch Disturbing The Peace Records with his manager. Chris is also a very famous actor.

7. Chuck D

He is known for being a politically outspoken MC. Before fame came, he spent hours working on his craft and studied BFA in Graphic Design at Adelphi University (AU). Despite majoring in this program, it’s not his visual style that makes him popular in the industry. His lyrics always outdo the beats in a loud baritone which enunciates each word like he’s a newscaster. It doesn’t matter how fast the flow is. According to him, the genre was CNN for black people, and the message was the essential thing.

8. Flavor Flav

Born William Jinathan Drayton Jr in 1959, Flavor is a great American musician and actor. He showcased his talent on reality TV. William graduated from AU’s culinary department. He was the founder and member of the Public Enemy hip-hop group that dominated the scene for many years.

9. Lil Wayne

Born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, Wayne is known as one of the most successful emcees who broke into the scene at a very young age. The talented musician was born in 1982 and prided himself on writing his music. Carter was an honors student at McMain Magnet School but left at 14 to concentrate on music. 

However, he would later join the University of Houston, majoring in political science. He took psychology classes at UH but eventually enrolled in online courses at Phoenix University because of his busy schedule.


Many more icons went to college, a lot of them are not featured in the list. Some names include Ryan Leslie, Diddy, Young MC, Mos Def, Ice Cube, etc. So, if you think all MCs have no good grades, you thought wrong.

One of the reasons people think these people lack education is because most MCs always aim for authenticity and street credit. In hip-hop, it means narratives of a dropout, rising from the ghetto to riches, and owning guns. Even those who make it to prestigious schools often hide this fact by not talking about it.