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Jason Rawls

Jason Rawls' faculty profile

Jason Rawls

Assistant Professor of Hip Hop


N466 Timashev Building
1866 College Rd
Columbus, OH 43210

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Areas of Expertise

  • Hip Hop Based Education
  • Hip Hop Studies
  • Hip Hop Culture
  • Youth Culture
  • Youth Culture Pedagogy
  • Hip Hop Music Production
  • Hip Hop Music Engineering
  • DJ'ing

Dr. Jason Rawls is an avid educator with almost two decades of K–12 teaching experience and 10 years of Higher Education teaching experience. Previously an associate professor of instruction at Ohio University, he has presented workshops on the music industry, hip hop education and beat making at several major universities around the country.

In addition to his work in education, he is also known in the independent hip-hop and soul music scene for his hip hop production. Known as a producer and DJ (previously known as J Rawls), he first gained prominence on the national scene after his work with Black Star, a hip hop group comprised of Mos Def and Talib Kweli, Rawls contributed production on “Brown Skin Lady” and “Yo, Yeah,” which placed him on the map among independent hip hop producers. The album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star was critically acclaimed as one of the best albums of 1998, and was a major force in the late-1990s underground hip hop explosion. Rawls has also worked with artists such as Del tha Funky Homosapien, Domo Genesis (Odd Future), Capital Steez (Pro Era), Beastie Boys, Slum Village, El Da Sensei, Sadat X, Count Bass D, Grand Agent, 9th Wonder, J-Live, Us3, John Robinson (JayARE) and King Combs (the son of Sean “P Diddy” Combs). He has released three solo albums and contributed to the NEO-SOUL movement producing the likes of Aloe Blacc, Eric Roberson, Dudley Perkins, and many others. Fusing jazz and hip hop (coining the term “jazz-hop”), Rawls' 2006 work with The Liquid Crystal Project led to national acclaim. His Columbus-based production company and record label continues to make an impact on the national hip hop scene, and he is in demand as a DJ for top clubs and private functions around the country. 

Rawls is also a featured presenter for the "Places of Invention: Bronx, New York" exhibit that opened in July 2015, at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. In this exhibit, a virtual J Rawls walks visitors through the nuances of how to scratch and mix on a replica turntable.

Along with John Robinson, his partner in the group JayARE, Rawls published his first book, titled Youth Culture Power (YCP). The book, part of Christopher Emdin’s #HipHopEd book series via Peter Lang Publishing, aligns with Ladson-Billing’s theory of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy with a look into Rawls' and Robinson’s theory of Youth Culture Pedagogy (YCP). YCP details the many ways that youth in marginalized schools identify with hip-hop culture, as well as the ways that culture can be used as a tool and asset in education. What sets this book apart is that Rawls and Robinson have created an album to accompany the book. The album consists of J Rawls-produced, jazz-infused hip-hop tracks over which John Robinson rhymes on the state of educating inner city youth today. Each chapter corresponds to a track from the album, and throughout the book are scenarios of application in various situations to which all educators can relate. 

Rawls is also co-creator of the first hip-hop based education (HHBE) program at The Patton College of Education at Ohio University. The program, named Hip-Hop Ohio Patton Education (HOPE), is The Patton College’s innovative and progressive HOPE program prepares pre-service teachers to incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy into their own teaching styles. Using theoretical constructs from HHBE, the program teaches the value of hip-hop based education, culturally relevant pedagogy, and relational pedagogy. This program is the FIRST program of its kind in higher education in the United States. 

An assistant professor of Black Music History at Ohio State with appointments in both the School of Music and the Department of African American and African Studies, Rawls will assist with the creation of one of the first hip hop studies programs in the United States. His mission is to make hip hop studies as common as other disciplines such as jazz studies.

Publications and Sound Clips


Rawls, J. and Robinson, J. (2022). How can I move the crowd? A classroom activity handbook. Self-published.

Rawls, J. D. and Petchauer, E. (2020). Be current, or you become the old man: Crossing the generational divide in hip-hop education. Urban Education, 1–28.

Rawls, J. D. and Robinson, J. (2019). Youth culture power: A #hiphoped guide to building teacher-student relationships and increasing student engagement. New York: Peter Lang Publishers. 




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