Producer// DJ// Author//Educator// Speaker
Known for his work with Black Star, a hip hop group comprised of Mos Def and Talib Kweli, Dr. 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. Dr. Rawls has also worked with artists such as Dose One, 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, and Moka Only. Dr. Rawls 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”) his 2006 work with The Liquid Crystal Project led to national acclaim for his collaboration with B-Jazz, Rob Riley, Eddie Bayard and Charles Cooper and their tribute to the legendary producer J Dilla. His Columbus-based production company and record label continues to make an impact in the national hip hop scene, and he is in high demand as a DJ for top clubs and private functions around the country.
Dr. Rawls is also featured presenter for the Places of Invention, Bronx NY exhibit that opened in July of 2015, at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. In this exhibit, a virtual J Rawls walks visitors through the nuances of how to scratch and mix on a replica turntable.
Dr. Rawls holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Cincinnati, a master’s degree in education from Ashland University, and an Educational Doctorate in Educational Administration from Ohio University. He is currently an Adjunct Instructor at Tiffin University in Tiffin, Ohio and has presented workshops on the music industry, Hip-Hop Education and beat making at several major universities around the country. He also has over 15 years of K-12 teaching experience. In 2019, Rawls co-authored the book, "Youth Culture Power: A #HipHopEd Guide to Teacher-Student Relationships and Student Engagement" with John Robinson through Peter Lang Publishers.
· Salute the DJ: 60 Minutes – Discussion of the history of the Hip-Hop DJ, with a DJ presentation and Q&A at the conclusion
· Professionalism in the Music Industry: 60 Minutes – Aimed toward college music students, this seminar is a discussion of how to present oneself as a professional in the music industry. Topics covered include: Perception, Work Ethic, and Expectations in the industry
· The Culture of Hip-Hop: 60 - 90 Minutes – This seminar explores the four elements of hip-hop (B-Boying or Breakdancing, DJing, emceeing, and Graffiti), tracing their historical development, and investigating the cultural practices that gave rise to these idioms.
· Jazz-Hop: “We Got the Jazz”: 45 Minutes – (From the person who coined the term) “Jazz-Hop” will be discussed in depth. Hip-hop’s connection and similarities to jazz is discussed.
· Samples & Examples: 60 Minutes – The evolution of sampling and hip-hop. A discussion of how the two are intertwined and why sampling is a true art-form.
· Music Publishing, Royalties & Copyrights: 60 Minutes - Aimed at college music students, this seminar goes over the basics of publishing, royalties and copyright from the standpoint of an experienced musician. Students will examine examples of actual statements.
· #HipHopEd Classroom: Using Hip-Hop to Build Meaningful Teacher-Student Relationships: 60 Minutes – Participants are introduced to the concept of #HipHopEd and some of its biggest proponents. The use of Hip-Hop as a Culturally Relevant Pedagogy is explored and the possibility of the rapport that it builds is explored and participants are given a brief introduction to Dr. Rawls and John Robinson’s theory Youth Culture Pedagogy (YCP). Dr. Rawls also presents a modified version of this seminar geared toward parents as well (Using Hip-Hop to Build Meaningful Relationships with Youth: A Synopsis for Parents & Teachers)
· Hip-Hop as an Educational Tool: Why Hip Hop Education is Imperative to Teachers and Students: 60 Minutes – This seminar is geared toward pre-service teachers and an audience in an educational setting. The basics of Hip-Hop Based Education (HHBE) are explored and discussed. Introductions of some of the fields leading scholars and their theories are identified and explained.
· The Art of Making Beats – For young producers, this workshop provides hands on guidance for making beats. Basics, such as sampling, sequencing and song structure are included topics. Young producers are expected to bring their own equipment.
A counterpart to the auditory experience, Youth Culture Power in book form dives deeper into the theory of Youth Culture Pedagogy (YCP); detailing 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. 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.
For listeners, Youth Culture Power by Jay ARE consists of J Rawls produced, jazz-infused hip-hop tracks over which the emcees rhyme poetic on the state of educating inner city youth today. Rawls and Robinson list the many challenges; like culturally-biased standardized tests, the whitewashing of history in textbooks and the cutting of resources, but counter with a wealth of solutions; like relating to students, implementing new techniques in the classroom and simply being attentive to the happenings of their lives. The wordplay within every verse is weighted with the tenets of Youth Culture Pedagogy (YCP), and sound bites from educators and scholars with foundational schools of thought, like Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, Dr. Jocelyn Wilson, Martha Diaz and Dr. Christopher Emdin, are laced throughout this musical journey.
Rawls' students make beats in the classroom.