At Sacramento City College, there is a budding movement to combine hip-hop and education. At the forefront are a professor and a counselor from the Extended Opportunity Programs Services, Kenneth Times and Adam Freas, affectionately known as KT and Freas.
They teach a college success class at City College with a hip-hop emphasis. They are the embodiment of what the EOPS programs sets out to do — help minority students and foster kids by setting them on the right path to academic success and graduation.
“EOPS is a wonderful and a great program, and if it wasn’t for the counselors that work here, we wouldn’t be here,” says Nancy Arashiro, EOPS clerk, who has worked with Times and Freas for years and is grateful to know them.
Freas and KT completed grad school together and eventually ended up working as EOPS counselors and professors at City College. Coincidentally, both men are over 6-feet tall, but height isn’t the main thing they have in common. It’s their love for hip-hop culture.
Freas and KT are founders of the non-profit organization called The Low End Theory Collaborative, or LETC, which is based in hip-hop. With the help of LETC and EOPS, Freas and KT have brought an annual event, “Rock The School Bells,” which fuses hip-hop and education as tools for incoming students to use going forward toward academic success.
“Rock the School Bells is an event that can broaden the scope in which hip-hop culture is viewed on campus and beyond,” KT says, noting the importance of using hip-hop culture and the School Bells event to connect with young people.
Hip-hop can be seen in a positive light, despite its image as too often being described as negative. Freas says, “Hip-hop being a voice for empowerment, what better medium to assist students in their exploration of education, career and community, with opportunities to develop their social capital?”
Freas and KT are living their dream by teaching and bringing hip-hop along for the ride. As hip-hop culture goes, so too goes Freas and Times.