AS 015: With Rhyme & Reason: Hip Hop and High School English Converge
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Today’s Guest

Nate Whitsell (AKA Knew Balance)

Nate is an active member of the San Diego hip hop community, one half of rap duo The Piecemakers, and an English teacher. He shares the incredible journey that led to working at schools in Compton & South Central LA and how he utilized music to inspire his students. Nate is also the host of a podcast called Act Like you Knew, runs  music-centric blog #SDLovesHipHop, guest writes for platformcollection.com and goodvibesd.com, and hosts a monthly hip hop show called Elbow Room at the AC Lounge in North Park San Diego.

BLOG: sdloveshiphop.com
GUEST BLOGGING: platformcollection.com
INSTAGRAM: @natewhitsell 

You’ll Learn

  • The importance of following signs in your life to discover new opportunities
  • How poetry readings and an MPC 1000 beat machine sparked the rap duo with Nate’s now brother-in-law
  • The characteristics of literature found in hip hop and rap music (For example: an Emcee is like a round character vs. a Rapper is like a flat character)
  • The life-changing experience of teaching in Compton and South Central 
    • Understanding societal ills and why reputations exist 
    • How the movie “Freedom Writers” is the pretty, candy coated version of what the experience was truly like
    • The ways in which PTSD changes the way we think and act
  • What Day 1 was like at Nate’s school in Compton
    • The student response when he first stepped into the classroom
    • Using hip hop to connect with students
    • Rap battling and freestyling with students to build community
  • The huge sign from a past student that led Nate back to teaching after taking a year off

Resources

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – A personally pivotal book for Nate about self discovery and following signs. This was the book that one of his students kept in her backpack for years.
  • Black Boy Poems by Tyson Amir
  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – Explores the internal resistance to creativity and why we procrastinate

Back in the Day by Ahmad, as mentioned in the show:

 

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