Skip to main content
The Ruby is a catalyst for creativity and a new home for making art at Duke University.

9th Wonder’s Donation Makes Way for Hip-Hop in Duke Arts

Published By Sadé Dinkins
Published on: October 27, 2017

9th Wonder's courses have begun to lay a foundation for the education, appreciation, and fostering of hip-hop at Duke.

"The MASCHINE is a sacred place."—9th Wonder

“When you’re in front of your beat Maschine, there’s nothing but you and the MASCHINE. It’s a sacred place nobody can get in between,” said Grammy Award-winning producer and African & African American Studies professor Patrick Douthit, also known as 9th Wonder.

He should know. This summer Douthit, who founded Jamla Records, donated several MASCHINES, a music production tool that facilitates the sampling process used in hip-hop, to Duke Arts.

Scott Lindroth, Vice Provost for the Arts and a music professor, said Douthit’s donation will “contribute to a more expansive range of inquiry linking artistic practice to history and culture” and is the beginning of an auspicious partnership.

Upon completion, Lindroth said the new Rubenstein Arts Center will host Douthit’s Hip-Hop production class and students will be able to access the MASCHINES in the new space.

“The art of sampling used in the creation of hip-hop and facilitated by MASCHINES, has opened up new ways music can ‘speak’ across generations. It brought new meanings to ‘old’ work even as it generated new art,” Lindroth said.

Douthit’s courses, which include Hip-Hop Production, Hip-Hop Cinema, and the History of Hip-Hop (co-taught with Mark Anthony Neal) have begun to lay a foundation for the education, appreciation, and fostering of hip-hop on campus. Douthit said the new arts building will provide a space for a more comprehensive hip-hop education, reaching every end of the spectrum, from production to DJing to rhyme structure.

“The art of sampling used in the creation of hip-hop and facilitated by MASCHINES, has opened up new ways music can ‘speak’ across generations.”—Scott Lindroth, Vice Provost for the Arts

From high-res color screens, to an improved layout, and a built-in audio interface, the next-generation MASCHINE hardware is packed with bright ideas. Watch Lead Product Specialist Boris Mezga condense the latest and greatest into an eight-minute best-of for beatmakers.

“Just like you need to have a class studying the great poets of the time, you need to have a class studying the great MC’s of the time,” Douthit said.

Maschines are a product of Native Instruments, a leading manufacturer of software and hardware for computer-based audio production and DJing. Native Instruments has a long-standing relationship with Douthit, who praises the tech company for its apt ability to streamline the beat-making process.

Douthit lamented the fact that last year students were unable to take the Maschines to and from class in order to continue their creative streak outside of the classroom. His donation, however, will provide not only that option to foster one’s innovation outside the classroom, but also an additional resource through which students may find that creative escape from the academic rigor of Duke.

“The arts open up your mind and make you not think so much in the box,” Douthit said. “It helps you become imaginative and creative and you’re not so analytical when it comes to things, even with life decisions.”

 

Hip Hop artist 9th wonder with 3 students over a table with a MASCHINE.
9th Wonder with Duke students. Courtesy 9thwonder.com.

Douthit is also donating Maschines to his alma mater North Carolina Central University, the Raleigh Boys Club, and the MLK Community Center in his hometown of Winston-Salem.

To quantify the impact of such a donation is a grand task, and one that deserves more qualitative recognition said André Mego, a Duke sophomore, who interns with Jamla Records, and who took Douthit’s hip-hop production class.

“It is much deeper than making music. It is about expressing oneself. You look for records that hold the sentiment you have inside you that you want to release and you piece it together either by chops or through a loop in order to express the feelings you hold,” said Mego. “9th’s donation is one that gives me hope for a bigger home for hip-hop at Duke.”

Tune into events & opportunities!

Sign up for our newsletter