Nothing inspires me more than teaching young people how to follow their dreams, giving them the tools to express themselves and find their voices. Hip-hop is a great tool for this because it is so relatable and expansive. Together we can change the world!
— MC Lars


Beats, Lyrics, and Rhyme

What is the cultural history of hip-hop? How do the original samples on which breakbeats were first invented relate to the meter of poetry, dating back to Shakespeare and earlier? What are some typical hip-hop song structures? What are the different forms and styles of rhymes?

Ableton, Logic, ProTools, Reason - what can you do with each and how making your own beats can help you as a writer. Sampling, recording, basic mixing. Putting together a live set and figuring out how to present your music.

Intro to the music industry, overview of how things have changed recently, tips and tricks for funding, booking shows, and video production. Attitude of gratitude, how to network and an intro to touring and networking with other bands. Dreaming big and beginning practically to get where you need to go with your art and career.

Northern California rapper, MC Lars, is set to release his 4th full-length studio album, the Zombie Dinosaur LP, at the end of this coming summer.  He has returned home to the Bay Area after living in Los Angeles these past three years, and is self-producing his new album with help from friends in Berkeley and San Francisco.  The Zombie Dinosaur LP revisits the satirical, funny, uptempo style of Lars’ 2004 debut album, the Laptop EP.  It features guest appearances by Watsky, Kool Keith, and Less than Jake’s Roger Lima.  Zombie Dinosaur tackles such topics as postfeminism, in a nod to Game of Thrones (“Dragon Blood”); disappointing reunion bands with very few of their original members (“Sublime with Rome is Not the Same thing as Sublime”); hipster parenting (“Hipster Mom”); and the current state of EDM (“Signing Dubstep”).

Lars has spoken and presented at two different TEDx conferences, performed at Carnegie Hall with a live string section (at Scholastic’s 2012 Art and Writing Awards – where he debuted the video for his song, “Flow Like Poe,” which is the lead single on his 2012 Edgar Allan Poe EP).

Having been labeled as one of the pioneers of the underground “nerdcore hip-hop” subgenre, Lars has recently expanded from the studio to the classroom.  With visiting scholar/teacher residencies at USC, and in the UK, and across the US in Nantucket, Florida, California, Alaska, and Kansas, Lars has found joy in educating young people about “lit-hop,” a subject term he coined to highlight the connections between literature, classical poetry, and the cultural history of rap.






TEI Workshops are group educational experiences.  The workshops are not structured for meet and greets, autograph signings, or individual photo opportunities with Gurus.  Please be respectful of these guidelines.

Photography credits:
headshot - Jerry Lin
live performance shot - Gaining Ground Media