How did the rapper enter the classroom

“I am not a businessman, I am a businessman, man! » In his song “Diamond from Sierra” (2013), American rapper Jay-Z has the advantage of clarity: “I am not a businessman, I am a businessman, man! » In the United States, the first billionaire rapper has since been considered at face value: some teachers teach his methods in the classroom – just like those of Steve Jobs (Apple) or Bill Gates (Microsoft).

In France, some schools and universities no longer hesitate to invite rappers to talk about their dual role as a rapper and an entrepreneur. Being a rapper is also an entrepreneur., testifies to the young rapper Marseille, Sysa, in the second episode of the series “Rap business”. And above all: rap has become institutionalized, it is the new pop music (see this time the first episode of this summer series).

Rap culture at Sciences Po and ESSEC

Already in November 2018, rapper Fianso held a two-hour conference on “Collective Transmission in the Heart of Creation” In Science Po. The intervention of the 36-year-old artist ended with an impromptu rap: “9-3 Paris Sciences Po. Yeah, yeah.” A standing ovation from the students.

Three years later, again. The Seine-Saint-Denis rapper was invited to the first evening of “Tuesdays at ESSEC,” a weekly meeting on the Cergy campus where students listen and debate with political and economic figures. His name stands out among the guest list: Bruno Le Maire (Minister of Economy and Finance), Edward Philippe (Former Prime Minister), Claire Weisand, (Deputy General Manager and General Secretary of Engie) … Topic: How young rappers are self-ignoring influence leaders . A rebellious bet paid off: two student associations lined up in charge of the organization.

9-3 Paris Sciences Po.

Fianso at Sciences Po Paris

And the rapper is not limited to business or political science. At Digital College, the Parisian school of programming, the world of rap is integrated into the course content. In the front rows of it: a master class with Théo Tanneau, Artistic Director at Warner Music France and another with Cédric Lohou, Director of Digital Marketing for REC 118, a panel of urban artists such as Aya Nakamura, Ninho or Hamza.

As a bonus, outside of learning times, the school even invites rappers to their events, such as the one that will take place at the start of the 2021 school year with rappers Neska, Hamza and SCH as guest stars. “The values ​​of rap are in every way consistent with our motto: We don’t recruit the elite, we train them”, A hymn directed by Radwan Abagheri, clearly influenced by the punch culture.

Rapper, an inspiration to teachers

Besides these relatively exceptional events, the success stories of great French rappers are taken as an example by teachers who specialize in management, management or marketing. This is particularly the case with Hugo Gillard, PhD student in management sciences and lecturer at the University of Le Mans and Tarek Chakour, lecturer at Aix-Marseille University. They co-authored an article on The Conversation, taken up by Les Echos START, on the topic: “Rap and Strategy: Are You More Than PNL or JUL?” published in June 2019 and “Orelsan, A New Lesson in Hip-Hop Management” published in November 2021.

In the first article, they encounter two completely opposite strategies of communication: the group PNL bases its success on the scarcity of its voices and its lack of media coverage, on the contrary, rapper Jul is very mediocre, hyperproductive and excessively close to his audience (thanks to his social networks).

“Rappers have become an influential figure for young people, Researcher Tarek Shakur explains. Explaining theoretical concepts applied to my students’ musical tastes seems to be convenient to me, as it allows them to participate and interest. Sometimes emotions are so unleashed that it’s hard to stay focused! » He was looking worried. “As a researcher and educator, we try to stir the critical spirit of students with artists they know they are listening to. It is neither an imbued nor a static science.” Another key learning feature: Demonstrate that there is no entrepreneurial strategy, but rather pluralism.

Left to right: Fianso, Jul and PNL in concert.Thomas Samson/AFP; SADAKA EDMOND / SIPA; Martial Trezzini / AP / SIPA

Orelsan, the “sociologist” of his time

This is explained by the analysis of the state of the commercial victory of Orlsan. The 39-year-old rapper stands out on the French rap scene with his looks, flow, Kane origin, and Japanese inspirations. With the simultaneous release of the documentary Never Show It to Anyone! In six episodes tracing his career and his new album Civilization, Norman was a total house: the pre-order gold disc was approved even before it hit stores. “Wait and Buzz Strategy”, Finder decodes. The icing on the cake: He’s expanded his audience dramatically — so much so that Emmanuel Macron calls him the “sociologist” of his day, Liberation reports.

The president and college teachers are not the only ones who have been inspired by him. The business world is also on fire for the rapper who graduated from EM Normandie Business School. There are a plethora of posts written by other business leaders, consultants, and coaches: “Marketing by Orelsan in 5 lessons. Simple. Basic “,” When Orelsan talks about management … or almost … “,” Orelsan, the best strategist in France? “,” Orelsan: simple but very effective communication ” or “What Orelsan taught me in terms of leadership” who have reached 20,000 likes on LinkedIn.

Arithmetic, model and tradition

The phenomenon has certainly grown, but it is in line with the work Introduction to hip hop management. Written by Jean-Philippe Denis in 2014, Professor of Management at the University of Paris West Nanterre. The work published by editions management & société (EMS) was crowned with the award for Best Applied Research Work in Management in 2015. Les Echos at that time prepared a summary of it in three lessons: 1 / You You must act first, then understand, 2 / Management from Through passion, self-transcendence and 3/profit is not an end in itself.

The spirit of that iconic punchline “wasn’t ready” It sums it up well. They do. Rappers don’t have much to learn from the business.Today, record companies, labels and brands are behind the artists! » Tariq Shakur points. But at once he gets angry: “Be careful though: you must not be eaten by the industry. Remember that the number of rappers living in it is small.”


Rap is seen as the music that best defined our era. Crazy Characters, Success Story, and ‘Turbulence’: We took advantage of the summer break to focus on the special connections between rap and business.

Episode 1 – How Rap Became the Most Popular Musical Genre for French Youth

Episode 2 – Sysa: “Being a Rapper Is Also an Entrepreneur”

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