At UMass and beyond, hip-hop draws growing academic interest

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  • Pacey Foster, a rap historian and professor at UMass, holds up a recording of the musical group COD as he poses with a collection of hip-hop cassette tapes from the 1980's at the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Thanks to UMass, the world will soon have access to 300 unreleased demo tapes from the early days of Boston hip-hop. The university paired with Boston Public Library to form a new hip-hop archive that's the latest example of colleges treating hip-hop as a scholarly subject. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    Pacey Foster, a rap historian and professor at UMass, holds up a recording of the musical group COD as he poses with a collection of hip-hop cassette tapes from the 1980's at the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Thursday, ... Nov. 17, 2016. Thanks to UMass, the world will soon have access to 300 unreleased demo tapes from the early days of Boston hip-hop. The university paired with Boston Public Library to form a new hip-hop archive that's the latest example of colleges treating hip-hop as a scholarly subject. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) (The Associated Press)

  • A collection of hip-hop cassette tapes from the 1980's are displayed at the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Thanks to UMass, the world will soon have access to 300 unreleased demo tapes from the early days of Boston hip-hop. The university paired with Boston Public Library to form a new hip-hop archive that's the latest example of colleges treating hip-hop as a scholarly subject. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    A collection of hip-hop cassette tapes from the 1980's are displayed at the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Thanks to UMass, the world will soon have access to 300 unreleased demo tapes from the ... early days of Boston hip-hop. The university paired with Boston Public Library to form a new hip-hop archive that's the latest example of colleges treating hip-hop as a scholarly subject. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) (The Associated Press)

  • Pacey Foster, a rap historian and professor at UMass, reviews with a collection of hip-hop cassette tapes and memorabilia from the 1980's at the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Thanks to UMass, the world will soon have access to 300 unreleased demo tapes from the early days of Boston hip-hop. The university paired with Boston Public Library to form a new hip-hop archive that's the latest example of colleges treating hip-hop as a scholarly subject. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    Pacey Foster, a rap historian and professor at UMass, reviews with a collection of hip-hop cassette tapes and memorabilia from the 1980's at the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. Thanks to UMass, the ... world will soon have access to 300 unreleased demo tapes from the early days of Boston hip-hop. The university paired with Boston Public Library to form a new hip-hop archive that's the latest example of colleges treating hip-hop as a scholarly subject. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) (The Associated Press)

The forgotten music of Boston's early hip-hop and rap scene is being revived by two unlikely heroes: a local college and the public library.

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The University of Massachusetts Boston and the Boston Public Library on Saturday are unveiling an online archive of more than 300 demo tapes by artists including Almighty RSO and Guru.

The archive is meant to reclaim Boston's overlooked role in the history of rap and hip-hop and to spark academic interest in it.

Students at UMass and other colleges are increasingly being encouraged to study hip-hop. Students can now earn a minor in it at the University of Arizona and Maryland's Bowie State University.

A Northeastern University media studies professor says some scholars still question whether hip-hop has a place in academia, but acceptance is growing.