The Hip-Hop Science Genius contest is an educational hip-hop contest created by Christopher Emdin and Edmund King Adjapong in order to promote more STEM through the language of hip-hop. However, in 2015 a group from Ellis High School won the competition through their hip-hop/reggaetón song “DNA”. Emdin and Adjapong’s exploration and pedagogical practices, teaching techniques and designs for curricula based on music and rhymes can be (and have been) easily applied to reggaetón. While hip-hop based education has been a huge success in the United States and other parts of the world reggaetón is still referred to as a merely a cultural expression by many conservatives. Instead, I argue that reggaetón should be analyzed as a pedagogic tool, a guide towards authentic identity, a vehicle that connects with Puerto Rico for those who migrate to the United States and a creative genius “from below” that was never supposed to last over twenty years. As intellectuals and reggaetoneros we cannot quit on reggaetón especially at a time when it is being increasingly mass marketed and whitened than ever which attempts to erase the afro-diasporic and Caribbean roots from where it flourished resulting in identity issues for the Puerto Rican youth. Lastly, what I call, Reggaeton and Hip Hop-Based Education (RHHBE) will also connect stateside Puerto Ricans and island Puerto Rican migrants as well as those in the island because of its history with earlier Puerto Rican migrations and solidarities with other marginalized groups in the United States.
William Garcia is an Afro-Nuyorican raised between New York and Puerto Rico. Garcia was born in Hato Rey. In 2015, Garcia completed his Masters degree in history at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. His reseach interests are Afro-Latino history and education, hip-hop and reggaetón in the Caribbean, Critical Pedagogy and Puerto Rican transnational migration. Garcia also has an MA in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College--Columbia University in New York City. Garcia is currently an Instructor at The City College of New York at the Department of Latin American and Latino Studies.