By Ryan Hill
By Mike Coppola, Getty Images

Wale attended Robert Morris University, Virginia State University and Bowie State University.

In the world of music, the stereotypical view of a rap artist usually doesn’t include a college education. But higher ed has played a part in the lives of some of today’s most popular rappers (including Kanye West — arguably the hip-hop world’s most famous college dropout). Here are just five other rappers who have attended college; not all but some earned degrees (and J. Cole did it with honors).

J. Cole

Jermaine Cole, better known by his stage name, J. Cole, attended St. John’s University in New York City on an academic scholarship. He would later graduate magna cum laude with a degree in communications and a minor in business. (He references his degree in many of his songs.) Cole also tried out for the St. John’s basketball team and did receive a call back but never took the offer. He just released his sophomore album, Born Sinner, under Jay-Z’s Roc Nation this month.

2 Chainz

Tauheed Epps, aka 2 Chainz, the College Park, Ga., rapper was a great basketball player and student in high school, before his days in Playaz Circle (when he was known as Tity Boi). He finished second in his class North Clayton High School and later attended Alabama State University on a scholarship to play for the Hornets basketball team. He played a full season for the team in 1996-1997, according to ESPN.

David Banner

Lavell Crump, aka David Banner, the Mississippi producer/MC, has cut tracks with T.I., Snoop Dogg and Chris Brown. As skilled as Banner is on the mic and in the studio, many do not know that he attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. While attending his mother’s alma mater, Banner earned his degree in business and was the president of the student government. He also attended the University of Maryland – Eastern Shore to obtain his master’s in education but left the program to pursue a career in music.

Ludacris

Ludacris is known for his multi-platinum albums and roles in The Fast and the Furious franchise. He created his own record label, Disturbing Tha Peace Records, is the co-owner of Conjure Cognac and launched his own headphone line with Soul Electronics. It’s safe to say that Christopher Bridges is putting his education to good uses. Ludacris studied music management at Georgia State University’s School of Music from 1998 to 1999.

Wale

Wale attended Robert Morris University, Virginia State University and Bowie State University (two of which were on football scholarships, according to The Washington Post). Wale eventually left Bowie State to pursue his rap career.

The rapper has replied to fans on Twitter about his game and has said he ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, according to The Smoking Section. To put that in comparison, he was once faster than current Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris, who ran a 4.67-second 40-yard dash (The Skins are Wale’s favorite team.)

The Maybach Music Group member released his third studio album, The Gifted, Tuesday.

In an earlier version of this post, the time Ludacris spent at Georgia State University was incorrect.
Ryan Hill is a summer intern at USA TODAY College. He is also currently enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and he is set to graduate in 2015.

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