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Here’s a List Of 20+ Famous Rappers with College Degrees

RAP – the shortened version of Rhythm and Poetry is currently one of the most famous genres in our music scene today. Check out any Billboard Hot 100 list and you will immediately find at least one song that ranks among the top 10 songs.

One may assume that RAP and Hip Hop music is all about street crime, drugs, sex and other stuff we presume to be taboo. However, as shocking as it may seem, many of our Hip Hop artists hail from qualified backgrounds as well and there are rappers with college degrees!

If you do not believe that rappers who have college degree exists, then be prepared to have your mind blown away for we have listed down some of the most famous rappers who actually possess college degrees!

Table of Contents

1. Nicki Minaj:

Nicki Minaj, born Onika Tanya Maraj, pursued her college education at LaGuardia High School in New York, where she honed her artistic talents. Later, she continued her studies at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Nicki’s early education laid the foundation for her remarkable journey as a rapper and a global pop icon.

Real Name:

Onika Tanya Maraj

Born:

December 8, 1982

Place of Birth:

Saint James, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Educational Background:

Nicki Minaj attended LaGuardia High School in New York, focusing on her artistic talents. She furthered her education at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, shaping the early stages of her iconic career.

2. Drake:

Drake, born Aubrey Drake Graham, is a Canadian producer, actress, singer, and songwriter. Rising to fame in the early 2000s through his role in Degrassi: The Next Generation, Drake, initially known as Audrey, transitioned from teenage struggles to a thriving profession. Departing the show in 2007, he redirected his focus towards a rap career, solidifying his presence as a multifaceted artist. This evolution from acting to rap exemplifies Drake’s versatility and determination in carving a remarkable trajectory within the entertainment industry.

Real Name:

Aubrey Drake Graham

Born:

24 October 1986

Place of Birth:

Saint James, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Educational Background:

At the age of just 15, Drake departed Vaughan Road Academy to embrace an acting career. A decade later, in 2012, he circled back to complete his high school journey, triumphantly announcing his success on Twitter: ‘97% on my final test.’ While some skeptics speculate on the means, Drake’s brilliance shines, debunking assumptions. His unconventional academic path underscores a narrative of resilience and intellectual acumen, challenging the norm and proving that success is not confined to traditional timelines. Drake’s story echoes louder than grades, resonating as a testament to his unique journey and unwavering commitment to both education and his craft.

3. Ludacris

The American-Gabonese rapper and actor Ludacris is a recipient of three Grammy Awards and one MTV Video Music Award. He has worked as a DJ and is known for his role as Tej Parker in The Fast and the Furious film series, for which he has earned a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Critic’s Choice Award is a known rapper with a degree.

Real Name:

Christopher Brian Bridges

Born:

11th September 1977

Place of Birth:

Champaign, Illinois, United States

Educational Background:

Ludacris attended Georgia State University in Atlanta. He pursued a degree in Music Management and later graduated from the university. Chris is also a highly renowned actor.

4. MC Solaar

French rapper MC Solaar is of Senegalese and Chadian origins and he is known for relying on word play in his songs. His mother’s support led him to pass the baccalauréat from France, where he was residing at the point. He later studied languages and then earned a Postgraduate in Philosophy from the Jussieu University campus. He falls in the list of rappers with a master’s degree!

Real Name:

Claude M’Barali

Born:

5th March 1969 (age 51)

Place of Birth:

Dakar, Senegal

Educational Background:

Postgraduate in Philosophy from The Jussieu Campus of the Faculty of Science of Sorbonne University in Paris, France

5. Stat Quo

Stat Quo is not only in the list of rappers who have degrees, but also a songwriter, but he is a producer and entrepreneur as well. He majored in Economics and International Business from the University of Florida in 2000. Who knows, maybe he could provide help in writing a business plan as well! What rappers who have a college degree can do is unpredictable just like their hit songs.

Real Name:

Stanley Benton

Born:

24th July 1978

Place of Birth:

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Educational Background:

Bachelor’s in Economics and International Business from the University of Florida (2000)

6. Ryan Leslie

Ryan Leslie is a recording artist and record producer who has performed in R&B, hip-hop, pop and even gospel music. He is a graduate of Harvard and has founded SuperPhone and NextSelection Lifestyle Group, for which he is serving as the CEO. Believable? God knows what rappers who have college degrees are capable of!

Real Name:

Anthony Ryan Leslie

Born:

25th September 1978

Place of Birth:

Washington D.C., United States

Educational Background:

Bachelor’s in Government (concentration in Political Science and Macroeconomics) from Harvard College

7. Wyclef Jean

We all know Wyclef Jean from Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie but the Haitian rapper, musician and actor is renowned for being a part of Fugees, a hip-hop group based in New Jersey, and for his efforts in raising relief funds for the 2010 Haitian earthquake. He has worked at a diploma from the Berklee College of Music where he studied music theory, ear training, improvisation, and guitar. He is also named in rappers with a degrees list somewhere on Google. Amazed!

Real Name:

Nel Ust Wyclef Jean

Born:

17th October 1969

Place of Birth:

Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti

Educational Background:

Berklee College of Music

8. David Banner

Raised in Jackson, Mississippi, David Banner possesses a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Southern University and A&M College and enrolled in a master’s program as well later on. However, he left it to pursue music and is currently a producer, activist, philanthropist, and actor as well.

Real Name:

Lavell William Crump

Born:

11th April 1974 

Place of Birth:

Brookhaven, Mississippi, U.S.

Educational Background:

Bachelor’s degree in Business from Southern University and A&M College

9. Sage Francis

Sage Francis is an independent underground rapper from Providence, Rhode Island who has founded Strange Famous Records and serves as its CEO as well. He is from the list of rappers with a college education. He began writing and recording when he was eight and possesses two degrees, one in Communications from Dean College and one in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island.

Real Name:

Paul William Francis

Born:

18th November 1976

Place of Birth:

Miami, Florida, United States

Educational Background:

Bachelor’s in Communications from Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts, and a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island.

10. Ice Cube

American rapper, actor, and filmmaker is notorious for his 1988 album Straight Outta Compton, which has contributed to the rise of gangsta rap is one of the rappers who went to university. He enrolled in the Phoenix Institute of Technology in 1987 and graduated with a diploma in Architecture Drafting in 1988.

Real Name:

O’Shea Jackson

Born:

15th June 1969

Place of Birth:

Los Angeles, California, United States

Educational Background:

Diploma in Architecture Drafting from Phoenix Institute.

11. Eminem

Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, is a rap phenomenon known for his unparalleled lyrical prowess and gritty storytelling. Hailing from St. Joseph, Missouri, he emerged as a force in the hip-hop world. Eminem’s journey is a testament to resilience and determination, as he navigated challenges to become one of the most influential and critically acclaimed artists in the history of rap. His impact extends beyond music, shaping cultural conversations and inspiring generations with his authentic and unapologetic voice.

Real Name:

Marshall Bruce Mathers III

Place of Birth:

St. Joseph, Missouri, USA

Born:

October 17, 1972

Educational Background:

Eminem’s educational journey reflects his commitment to self-improvement. Despite facing challenges, he attended several schools in Detroit, where his passion for language and rhymes began to take shape. Eminem’s relentless pursuit of his craft and his unique storytelling abilities ultimately became the bedrock of his legendary career in the world of hip-hop.

12. Guru

Guru uses the stage name Guru as a backronym for Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal and was a member of the hip-hop duo Gang Starr. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Atlanta’s Morehouse College and also took a few graduate classes from Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology. So it can be said that he is one of the rappers that went to university and is multi-talented!

Real Name:

Keith Edward Elam

Born:

17th July 1961 (died aged 48 on 19th April 2010)

Place of Birth:

Roxbury, Massachusetts, U.S.

Educational Background:

Business Administration from Morehouse College

13. 2 Chainz

Formerly known as Tity Boi, 2 Chainz attended Alabama State University on a basketball scholarship from 1995 to 1997 and later transferred to Virginia State University, owing to some circumstances, still 2 Chaiz college degree is worth knowing!

Real Name:

Tauheed Epps

Born:

12th September 1977 (age 43)

Place of Birth:

College Park, Georgia, United States

Educational Background:

BS from Virginia State University

14. Aloe Blacc

Besides being a soul singer and record producer, Aloe Blacc is a philanthropist as well. He is renowned for his single such as ‘I Need a Dollar’ and ‘The Man’ as well as his vocals on ‘Wake Me Up’ by Avicii. He is a member of Emanon and has a Grammy Award to his name. In 2001, he majored in Linguistics and Psychology from the University of Southern California and is one of the known rappers that went to university.

Real Name:

Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III

Born:

7th January 1979

Place of Birth:

Laguna Hills, California, U.S.

Educational Background:

Bachelor’s in Linguistics and Philosophy from the University of Southern California.

15. Kanye West

Kanye West, a trailblazing artist, transcends the boundaries of music and art. Renowned for his groundbreaking contributions to the hip-hop genre, West’s journey began at the American Academy of Art, where his early passion for creativity took root. Continuing his education at Chicago State University, he seamlessly merged his love for art with an emerging musical prowess. This fusion laid the groundwork for the innovative and genre-defying career that has solidified Kanye West as a true icon in the world of entertainment.

Real Name:

Kanye Omari West

Place of Birth:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Born:

June 8, 1977

Educational Background:

Kanye West, a trailblazing artist, began his academic journey at the American Academy of Art and continued at Chicago State University. Balancing a passion for art with an emerging love for music, his educational background laid the foundation for the boundary-pushing creativity that defines his influential career.

16. J. Cole

Known as one of the influential rappers with a college degree of his generation, J. Cole was raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina has a Grammy Award nomination and several successful albums to his name. Additionally, he graduated magna cum laude in Communication and Business from St. John’s University in New York University in 2007. He is one of the rappers who graduated college and went to a renowned university.

Real Name:

Jermaine Lamarr Cole

Born:

28th January 1985

Place of Birth:

Frankfurt, Hesse, West Germany

Educational Background:

Degree in Communication and Business from St. John’s University in New York City

17. Young MC

We all know Young MC for his 1989 hit ‘Bust a Move’ but little do we know that he possesses a degree in Economics from the University of Southern California as well. He has appeared in a few roles in movies too and is one of the rappers that have college degrees.

Real Name:

Marvin Young

Born:

10th May 1967 (age 53)

Place of Birth:

South Wimbledon, London, England

Educational Background:

Bachelor’s in Economics from the University of Southern California (USC)

18. M.I.A

M.I.A has several accolades and awards to her name and is the first South Asian person to receive nominations for an Academy as well as a Grammy Award, both within the same year. Her inclusion in the ‘most influential people’ lists and appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) are not her only achievements. She is a rapper with college degree and has done her graduation from the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London in the year 2000.

Real Name:

Mathangi Arulpragasam

Born:

18th July 1975

Place of Birth:

London, England, United Kingdom

Educational Background:

Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London (2000)

19. Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino is one of the most influential people in the world, as per Time’s 100 list issued in 2017. Not only is he a well-known rapper, but a comedian, writer, producer, and director as well. In 2018, he achieved fame for his single ‘This is America’, which did a fine job in covering American politics and African-American culture.

Childish Gambino has several successful acting credits to his name as well, such as The Lazarus Effect (2015), Magic Mike XXL (2015, The Martian (2015), Spider-Man Homecoming (2017), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) and the TV series Community (2009-2013) and Atlanta (2016-present).

Real Name:

Donald McKinley Glover Jr.

Born:

25th September 1983

Place of Birth:

Edwards Air Force Base, California, U.S.

Educational Background:

Degree in Dramatic Writing from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

20. Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., is a prolific rapper hailing from New Orleans. His ascent to eminence began in the late 1990s, and since then, he has become an influential figure in the hip-hop scene, admired for his distinctive style and lyrical prowess.

Debut Album: “Tha Block Is Hot”

In 1999, Lil Wayne released his debut solo album, “Tha Block Is Hot.” The album showcased his raw talent and marked the inception of a remarkable career that would influence the rap landscape for years to come.

Real Name:

Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.

Born:

27 September 1982

Place of Birth:

New Orleans, Louisiana

Educational Background:

Lil Wayne’s educational journey took a back seat to his musical pursuits, and he opted for homeschooling to accommodate his rising career in the rap industry. Despite unconventional paths, his impact on the music scene solidifies Lil Wayne as a trailblazer and a living legend in the world of hip-hop.

21. Lil Pump

Lil Pump is a rapper who skyrocketed to fame in the late 2010s. Known for his energetic style and vibrant persona, Lil Pump quickly became a notable figure in the contemporary rap scene, capturing the attention and admiration of a youthful audience.

Breakout Hit: “Gucci Gang”

In 2017, Lil Pump made waves with his breakout single “Gucci Gang,” propelling him into the mainstream spotlight. The infectious track and its catchy chorus showcased Lil Pump’s ability to create anthems that resonate with the current generation.

Real Name:

Gazzy García

Born:

17 August 2000

Place of Birth:

Miami, Florida, United States

Educational Background:

Lil Pump’s journey is marked by his early dedication to music, leading him to prioritize his rap career over formal education. While his path may differ from traditional routes, Lil Pump’s impact on the rap scene illustrates the evolving landscape of the genre, proving that success can be forged through unique and uncharted avenues.

22. Lil Tay

Lil Tay, a rising star in the rap scene, brings a unique flavor to the industry. Despite her young age, she has garnered attention for her bold and unapologetic style, making waves as a notable figure in the evolving landscape of hip-hop.

While Lil Tay’s journey is still unfolding, her early releases and social media presence have set her apart. With a fresh and vibrant approach, she is making a mark in the genre, leaving fans eager to witness the evolution of her musical narrative.

Real Name:

Tay Tian

Born:

29 July 2007

Place of Birth:

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Educational Background:

Lil Tay’s educational background is still a part of her unfolding story. As she navigates the dynamic world of rap, her journey may take unexpected turns, challenging traditional expectations and paving the way for a new generation of artists who redefine success on their terms.

Keep the Hip Hop & Education Spirit Alive with Our Help!

Do you feel surprised by the number of rappers who possess college degrees? This just dismantles the presumption that hip-hop and RAP belong to those with lesser education or those who have mostly spent their lives on the streets in crime.

Many of the influential rappers we know write lyrics that cover several kinds of social issues and it is safe to assume that their education has widened their horizons in this regard. There might be couple of rappers with PhD as well! who knows? If you are someone with an undying passion for hip-hop, our advice is that you move on with it.

But, but, but, do not ignore your education in the parallel. If you even need help with your admission essay, you can simply count on our Personal Statement Writing Service.