25 Rappers With College Degrees Who May Surprise You

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This list of rappers with college degrees highlights the hip-hop legends who smashed it in school as well as on the rap scene.

The majority of rappers earn their education on the street, but there are plenty of intellectual rappers with proven academic success.

This article will introduce you to a variety of rappers who went to university, covering those who earned undergraduate degrees, those with post-grad degrees, and finally, those who did not necessarily attend college, but have been awarded honorary degrees.

Let’s find out more about these famous rappers who earned college degrees.

1. J.Cole

j cole

College: St. John’s University

J. Cole is one of the most successful rappers of our generation, and he’s also something of an intellectual. He initially enrolled in Computer Science at St. John’s University, before switching to Communications.

He graduated magna cum laude in 2007, with a 3.8 GPA.

2. Macklemore

macklemore

College: The Evergreen State College

Macklemore earned a BA from The Evergreen State College in Olympia in 2009. He initially enrolled at College of Santa Fe, New Mexico, but did not finish there after he didn’t get into their music programme.

About his time at Santa Fe Macklemore said that he didn’t go to many classes, and instead spent his time focusing on his craft.

3. Lil Wayne

lil wayne

College: University of Houston / University of Phoenix

One of the most successful and best-selling rappers of all time, Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., better known as Lil Wayne, attended two different colleges.

He first enrolled at the University of Houston in 2005, and then switched to the University of Phoenix where he majored in psychology, at the encouragement of his mother. He discussed his experiences of higher education in an interview on The View.

Lil Wayne did not finish his degree, and contrary to what many publications have claimed, Lil Wayne does not hold a degree from any institution.

4. Flavor Flav

flavor flav

College: Adelphi University

Legendary hype man and rapper Flavor Flav rose to fame as one of the founding members of Public Enemy.

In fact, Public Enemy arguably wouldn’t have happened if Flavor Flav didn’t go to college. Adelphi University is where the group’s founders, Flavor Flav and Chuck D first met.

5. 2 Chainz

2 chainz

College: Virginia State University

You might not think that an artist who used to go by the name Tity Boi would be an intellectual, but trap sensation 2 Chainz totally earned a degree in psychology.

He attended Alabama State University on a basketball scholarship, playing for their team for two years, and later completed his studies at Virginia State University.

6. Talib Kweli

talib kweli

College: New York University

One half of the legendary duo Black Star (along with Mos Def), Talib Kweli comes from an intellectual family.

Both the rapper’s parents work in Higher Education. His younger brother, Jamal Greene, is a Harvard graduate, and professor of constitutional law at Columbia Law School. As for Talib, he earned a BA in Experimental Theatre from New York University.

7. Killer Mike

killer mike

College: Morehouse College

Michael Santiago Render, better known as Killer Mike, burst onto the scene in the early 00s thanks to his work with Outkast. Killer Mike attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he met Outkast’s Big Boi.

He dropped out within a year, which he has described as one of his “biggest regrets.” Killer Mike is no stranger to Higher Education, however. Today, his activism work has seen him frequently lecture at colleges and universities across the US.

8. Common

common

College: Florida A&M University, Winston-Salem State University

The intellectualism of Lonnie Rashid Lynn, better known as Common, shines through in his music, so it will be no surprise to his fans that he holds a college degree. He received a scholarship to attend Florida A&M University for two years, where he majored in business administration.

In 2015, he was also awarded with an honorary doctorate – “Doctor of Humane Letters” – from Winston-Salem State University.

9. Chuck D

chuck d

College: Adelphi University

Adelphi University, Long Island, is where Carlton Douglas Ridenhour – better known as Chuck D – met Flavor Flav, before going on to found Public Enemy.

Chuck D received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1984. He was later awarded an honorary doctorate from the university in 2013.

10. Ice Cube

ice cube

College: Phoenix Institute of Technology

Legendary rapper Ice Cube had already begun his career with N.W.A. when he first enrolled at college. The group were just starting when Ice – real name O’Shea Jackson – began studying at the Phoenix Institute of Technology.

He graduated in 1988 with a diploma in architectural drafting, and rejoined N.W.A., keeping a career in architecture as a back-up plan.

11. M.I.A.

m.i.a.

College: Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design

British rapper M.I.A. earned a degree in fine art, film, and video from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design in London. Her long-standing interest in visual arts is demonstrated in part by her stunning 2021 video ‘Franchise’ with Young Thug and Travis Scott.

In 2022, M.I.A. was presented with an honorary award from the University of the Arts London.

12. Young MC

young mc

College: University of Southern California

Marvin Young, better known as Young MC, was responsible for the 1989 hit ‘Bust a Move.’

His life before hip-hop and TV fame was preceded by an exemplary academic record, which saw him earn a degree in economics from the University of Southern California.

13. Saweetie

saweetie

College: University of Southern California

Saweetie chose a path which has seen her become one of the most successful female rappers in the world today. It’s clear, however, that other options were available to her.

She studied communications and business at San Diego State University, before transfering to the University of Southern California. She completed her degree there and was awarded a BA in communications. In interviews, she has discussed the value of her education.

14. Donald Glover

donald glover

College: New York University

There really is no end to the abilities of Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino. His sparkling career in both music and film was preceded, and partly formed at New York University.

He graduated in 2006 from the Tisch School of Arts with a degree in Dramatic Writing from the esteemed arts college.

15. Guru

guru

College: Morehouse College

Keith Edward Elam, best known as Guru of the legendary rap duo Gang Starr, is another rapper who graduated from college.

He graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in business administration. He also took post-grad classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.

16. Megan Thee Stallion

megan thee stallion

College: Texas Southern University

As one of the best-selling female rappers in the world, you might think that Megan Thee Stallion would have no need for a degree. Amazingly, she has pursued formal education at the same time as achieving massive success in the music industry.

She graduated from Texas Southern University in 2021, with a Bachelor of Science in Health Administration.

17. David Banner

david banner

College: Southern University

Rapper and producer David Banner is one of the few artists on this list who went further than simply studying a degree – he actually went on to study a masters, although he dropped out.

The Mississippi rapper attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from where he earned a degree in Business. He dropped out of a masters in Education at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in order to pursue his music career.

18. Hardy Caprio

hardy caprio

College: Brunel University

British rapper Hardy Caprio has arguably the most prestigious degree of anyone on this list. The London rapper graduated with a first-class degree in Finance and Accounting from Brunel University in 2018.

In an interview, he discussed the challenges of balancing his studies with his music career. “I was getting in at like 5am from the studio and going straight to lectures and not sleeping,” he said.

19. Phonte

phonte

College: North Carolina Central University

Phonte was part of rap trio Little Brother, along with Big Pooh and 9th Wonder. The group met at North Carolina Central University.

Phonte was the only one to successfully graduate, majoring in English.

20. Wyclef Jean

wyclef jean

College: Berklee College of Music

Wyclef Jean has had a phenomenal career, and arguably would have no need to pursue higher education. That did not stop him from enrolling at the esteemed Berklee College of Music in 2009.

In a statement, the artist said, “Berklee was always where I wanted to attend…I think it is important for young people to aspire to get an education.” Wyclef Jean gets an honorable mention here as his course was technically a diploma and not a degree.

21. Ludacris

ludacris

College: Georgia State University

One of the best-selling rappers of all time, Ludacris was awarded with an honorary Bachelor of Science in Music Management from Georgia State University in 2022.

Earlier in his career he took classes in music management at Georgia State University, from 98-99, but did not graduate at the time.

22. Sean Combs

sean combs

College: Howard University

Known variously as Puff Daddy, P.Diddy, and Diddy, the legendary rapper and music executive is the owner of an honorary doctorate.

In 2014, Combs was presented with the doctorate from Howard University. He went on to donate $1 million to Howard University to help fund students who cannot afford their tuition.

23. LL Cool J

ll cool j

College: Northeastern University

One of the most-famous and best-selling rappers of all time, LL Cool J also has a doctorate to his name. For his enormous contributions to hip-hop culture, he was made an Honorary Doctor of Arts by Northeastern University in Boston.

In a statement he said, “for them to recognize my body of work and my contributions to the world of art is an amazing feeling.”

24. Missy Elliott

College: Berklee School of Music / Norfolk State University

Missy Elliott is the most-honoured individual on this list, as the proud owner of not just one, but two honorary doctorates.

In 2019, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music. In 2022, she was awarded a second honorary doctorate from Norfolk State University.

25. Dizzee Rascal

College: University of East London

In the 00s, grime rapper Dizzee Rascal was one of the biggest names in the British music scene.

In recognition of his contributions to music, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by the University of East London. 

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