On this episode, I speak to an interdisciplinary hip-hop artist and educator who has been manifesting music and message since 2000. A veteran of more than a dozen international tours, including as a State Department Cultural Ambassador with the Music Abroad Program, Mikal Amin is someone I consider to be the epitome of a hip-hop teaching artist.
I’ve known Mikal (formerly known artistically as The Hired Gun) for many years. He was one of early examples of people I ran across doing amazing things with hip-hop, particularly involving youth, in the city, across the country and throughout the world. He’s taught master classes, led workshops, lectured, published essays, produced and curated events, and most important, stood right by the sides of young people from all walks of life, helping them find their best selves through poetry, rap and music.
Mikal is currently a program manager at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the curator of the acclaimed Word. Sound. Power. Showcase series at that venerable institution. He joined me to talk about his career, the power of hip-hop to uplift young people, the challenges and rewards of marrying hip-hop with more traditional-minded institutions and what needs to be done to protect the culture of hip-hop against internal, generational discord.