History, sex, politics, race. The versatility of hip hop knows no bounds, particularly when it comes to helping people deepen their understanding of the world in which they live. In this video, David Stovall, associate professor at University of Illinois at Chicago, explains how hip hop can teach listeners to understand contradictions—in government, society and beyond. Check out the video to learn more about the intellectual underpinnings of this unique genre.

For more watch Stovall on educational policy.

—Elizabeth Whitman