Reporting Edgar Linares
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Soon students from China will trade places with students from St. Paul to learn about hip-hop music.
A Chinese delegation of 14 administrators toured the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul this week. The delegation is from the Shenyang Conservatory of Music.
The group is finalizing arrangements to bring Chinese students to St. Paul’s music school to learn the in and outs of the hip-hop music world. McNally Smith College offers the only Hip-Hop diploma program in nation.
“The program has been here for three years,” said Toki Wright, hip-hop studies diploma coordinator. “The program has been in development for about five years.”
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Wright said the exchange program will be a great opportunity to build bridges.
“Hip-hop is growing,” said Wright. “Hip-hop is global; it’s in many different places. Now we not only have an opportunity to develop this new relationship with another country, we also have an opportunity to expand hip-hop culture and see how it’s affected other places around the world.”
Last winter, Wright and number of McNally Smith school officials traveled to Shenyang for a series of meetings to begin the cultural exchange process.
Xu Haoyu is Shenyang’s hip-hop professor. He spoke through a translator.
“China has a large population and 100 million people in China love hip-hip music,” said Haoyu. “The south campus of Shenyang Conservatory offers the first ever hip-hop major in China. We’re interested in coming here … Some original places to learn more history about hip-hop music.”
Haoyu is big fan of hip-hop music. During the interview he wore a tie and suit but says when he’s not working he’s dressed in hip-hop attire.
“We have 9,000 students and 1,000 of them love hip-hop music,” said Haoyu.
The core of the hip-hop music program at McNally Smith is theory, business, performance, technology and history. There will be about 20 students coming from China per semester and they could begin arriving as early as spring. The amount of students going to China from St. Paul has yet to be determined.
“Our program is growing just like hip-hop,” said Wright. “You can’t contain it, you just have to let it grow.”