Hip-hop has always been prey to oxymorons, especially when it comes to education. There’s the dunce-spittin’ booty hunter, quietly toting a Masters. And then there’s Nas, a favorite black Einstein with lyrics soused in intellect who just happens to be a high school dropout. Talk about clash.
Last Sunday, Esco was a keynote speaker for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s annual National Keystone Conference, where he shared with 900 high school students in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that his biggest regret was never receiving his HS diploma—an accreditation he is still pursuing. Due to Nasir’s recent candor, VIBE’s decided to break out a couple yearbooks for a look at who’s proving the educational system wrong and who graduated Magnum cum-laude. Don’t judge a book by its rapper. —Tracy Garraud