Rappers Drake and Weeknd are topics in course at Ryerson

Students at Ryerson University will now be able to take a course that delves into two of Toronto’s most influential artists in the music industry: Drake and The Weeknd.

Dalton Higgins

The course, titled Deconstructing Drake & The Weeknd, will study the artists’ careers and lyrics.

The course is the brainchild of Toronto author and publicist Dalton Higgins, who is also a music professor in residence at Ryerson, also known as X University, which will soon be renamed.

“On the college and university scene, there are all kinds of courses being taught about rock, pop, folk artists, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, it goes on and on,” said Higgins.

“So why shouldn’t there be a course about Drake and The Weeknd?” he said.

Higgins said he was prompted to create the course to show students that learning can be fun and inspire the next generation of young creative artists in Toronto.

Over the last decade, Higgins lectured about Black music at different universities and has also written an unauthorized biography of Drake. The influence and success of Drake and The Weeknd guided him to create the course, Higgins said.

“When you go outside of Toronto and travel the globe like I’ve had the opportunity to, you’re very hard-pressed to find a hugely successful … Black Jewish rapper like Drake or an Ethiopian R&B star like The Weeknd, from anywhere really,” he said.

Drake and Weeknd

The course will talk about the artists in relation to the issues of culture and race.

Higgins said he hopes the course on the two recording artists will encourage students to ask critical questions like, “What made this possible?” and “Why is that?” and also teach them how to succeed in marketing themselves. “[They] are both products of the Canadian music scene that does very little to foster the growth of its Black artists, so how did all of this happen?” Higgins said.

The course begins the Winter 2022 semester.