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Hittin’ the Books! 10 Classic Hip-Hop Songs About School

Everybody’s heading back to school! As parents pick out new bookbags and school supplies, as freshman get their expensive textbooks and prospective syllabuses (“syllabi?”), it feels like fall is upon us.

Looking back over the years, hip-hop has given us more than a few classic tracks dedicated to school. From lighthearted looks at the life of a teenage coping in home room, to thoughtful examinations of what education means in America, here are ten songs that we picked to celebrate the new school year.

You gettin’ straight As or what?


“I Love College”

Asher Roth
 
 
 

Asher Roth dedicated this laid-back hit to everything that people love about college. Yes, people go to college to learn–but the most fun lessons come after class is over.

“I Missed the Bus”

Kris Kross
 
 
 

The Mack Daddy and Daddy Mack delivered this 1992 ode to oversleeping. Kris Kross may have been multiplatinum hip-hop stars, but that doesn’t mean the bus driver is gonna wait for you, guys.

“P.T.A.”

Leaders of the New School
 
 
 

Detention can really hurt your career. Busta Rhymes, Dinco D, Charlie Brown and Cutmaster C outlined just how much trouble rambunctious rappers can get into when they’re stuck in high school.

“You Must Learn”

Boogie Down Productions
 
 
 

Of course “The Teacha” would make an appearance–highlighting the importance of teaching Black history. KRS-One took aim at the way black students are educated on this topical single from B.D.P.

“They Schools”

dead prez
 
 
 

Stic Man and M1 came with some serious critique of the school system. Pointing out the way that schools operate like prisons, dead prez showed that they have a scrutinizing eye and a sharp perspective on education.

“Monie In the Middle”

Monie Love
 
 
 

Being a cute girl in class means being sweated by the guy you have no interest in talking to. From passing notes to drawing your name on your notebook, teenage unrequited love ain’t no joke, fam. But leave her alone.

“Principle’s Office”

Young MC
 
 
 

No, you probably don’t remember Young MC’s follow-up single to his megahit “Bust A Move.” While nowhere near as big as that monster, the rapper’s ode to the hardships of high school was a fun look at that dreaded place no student wants to visit.

“College Boy”

J. Cole
 
 
 

Giving a shoutout to NC State and UNC, the Carolina product talks about homesickness, casual sex and the experience of being a freshman in college. One of those songs that made Cole relatable to a generation of rap fans.

“I Can”

Nas
 
 
 

Nasir Jones gave a generation of schoolkids (and their hip-hop-loving teachers) an anthem for education that has stood the test of time. You may want to Google some of those “facts” listed, though.

“Parents Just Don’t Understand”

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
 
 
 

What’s realer than having to fit in on the first day of school? Back when he was still The Fresh Prince, Will Smith repped for kids everywhere–struggling to get their folks’ to not dress them in the worst clothes and have them looking stupid at school. Thanks, Will.

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