17 times rappers paid it forward: the back-to-school edition

We celebrate artists who have empowered the youth and given back to their communities.

  /  09.05.2019

As KRS-One articulated throughout his catalog and in his many teachings, “Rap is something you do, hip hop is something you live.” As the culture continues to evolve today, many feel it’s not only important, but vital to preserve and honor the fundamental elements: Graffiti, emceeing, breakdancing, deejaying and knowledge. This column called “Each One, Teach One” aims to do exactly that. It will highlight various lessons that can be passed between new and old generations alike.

It’s that time of year again. You know, the time where it feels like summer passed in the blink of an eye and all of a sudden, the back-to-school aisle of the store has somehow already been ravished almost as quickly as it appeared. However, despite the deep sighs that accompany the reality that the summer months are nearing their annual end, the momentum is being carried into the fall season with enthusiasm. Thanks are due to Megan Thee Stallion.

As the official spokeswoman behind the phrase “Hot Girl Summer,” a term that has rapidly shifted from feel-good mantra to full-fledged movement, Megan Thee Stallion has made it clear that there is no expiration date to it. The mindset she’s embodying with “Hot Girl Summer” continue to empower and move this new generation. Months after joyfully exclaiming the phrase that is synonymous with living one’s best life, the Houston rapper delivered the visual for her long-awaited anthem alongside Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign. In addition to the iconic nature of the collaboration, Megan Thee Stallion showcased her branding brilliance by reminding fans of the depth of [#HotGirlSummer(https://revolt.tv/stories/2019/07/23/megan-thee-stallion-hot-girl-summer-trademark-0700f9a847) by transitioning into #HotNerdFall.

“Being a hot girl is like a lifestyle, and everyone knows I’m still in college,” she said, speaking with [Access Hollywood at BeautyCon LA 2019]. “It’s gonna be a real hot girl semester, you know what I’m saying? Real Hot Nerd Fall. So, I’m just about to start puttin’ on for all my school girls.”

Megan’s career is advancing at exponential rates, but she hasn’t lost sight of her own goals. As she finishes up her degree in health administration, Megan has been seen sharing a video of herself finishing her homework before performing on stage as a rapper. The rapper is helping to ensure #HotGirlSemester is off to a strong start by encouraging others to hit the books themselves.

In the spirit of Megan working around the clock to balance her career and degree, let’s get in the back-to-school spirit. REVOLT TV celebrates those in music who have given back in the academic space and have encouraged their fans to continue their education.


To sweeten the deal surrounding his Legendary Nights tour alongside Meek Mill and Megan Thee Stallion, Future has also pledged to give a $2,000 scholarship and a pair of concert tickets to a fan at each stop along his 24-city run. For fans who are eligibly, one must be an active college student, follow the his FreeWishes Foundation on Instagram and submit an essay on how the scholarship funds would be a “dream come true.” For more information, please see here.

Sean “Diddy” Combs

He is a man who has crafted the blueprint as a hip hop mogul, entertainer and motivational speaker by nature. Sean “Diddy” Combs leads a positive lifestyle, setting an example for others to encourage one another. In addition to sharing inspirational gems and speaking candidly about his own experiences, Diddy is also generous with his philanthropy in the academic space. The mogul has invested in the youth consistently throughout his career.

In 2016, Diddy co-founded the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School to provide “historically disadvantaged students with the college and career readiness skills needed to become responsible and engaged citizens for social justice.” Last year, he pledged $1 million for a new location of his Capital Preparatory School network to expand to the Bronx.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj’s fanbase was ecstatic when she casually launched her Student of the Game scholarship program on Twitter. What began as a kind gesture to help pay off a couple of her fans’ college tuition fees soon resulted in her extending her generosity to over 37 students and counting.

Megan Thee Stallion

In addition to working on her own degree, Megan Thee Stallion has also supported others doing the same. Earlier this summer, she hosted a beauty pageant which provided the winner with a $2,5000 scholarship grand prize.

Meek Mill

The rapper and philanthropist works to reform the criminal justice system, continues to make sure the kids have what they need to succeed in school, and gives back to his hometown of Philadelphia. In fact, he has partnered with companies such as Reebok and Puma to donate thousands of dollars worth of sneakers, gear, backpacks, and school supplies.

21 Savage

Last month, 21 Savage held his fourth-annual Issa Back 2 School Drive. This year’s event was in partnership with his Leading By Example Foundation, Amazon Music, Atlanta United, New Era, Puma, Momma Flystyle and Antwanette McLaughlin of The Spice Group. As reported, more than 2,300 kids were given backpacks filled with school supplies, uniforms, and sneakers. The students were also able to receive haircuts and health screenings for free.


Drake made ample headlines with his 2018 video shoot for the famous “God’s Plan” video. In this visual, the recording artist donated the project’s million-dollar budget to people in need in Miami. Throughout filming the video, he made a $25,000 donation to Miami Senior High, and gifted a University of Miami student $50,000 to help with tuition costs. In addition, Drake went on to cover groceries for locals and donate to homeless shelters as well, referring to the video as “the most important thing” he’s done in his career.

Vic Mensa

Vic Mensa’s nonprofit organization, SaveMoneySaveLife, has executed several impactful partnerships dedicated to the youth. He has done this by providing mentorship opportunities, donating backpacks and supplies, organizing shoe drives, or offering mental health resources to help others overcome trauma. On the website for his nonprofit, the mission statement states: “SaveMoneySaveLife aims to provide vital resources to those who need it most. Our mission is to foster civic action through arts and entertainment, facilitating sustainable change.”

Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper has been increasingly involved in giving back to his hometown of Chicago. He began his movement through his youth empowerment charity, Social Works, where he has raised and donated over $2 million to Chicago Public Schools. The proceeds cover art and education programs at schools who have endured budget cuts over the years. Through the organization, he has provided 30,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies and has partnered with organizations like Lyft to increase visibility. Chance the Rapper’s humanitarian efforts are admirable and impactful.

“Verified @lyft is for the kids! Use Round Up & Donate, to contribute to @SocialWorks_Chi New Chance Arts & Literature Fund. The more we ride, the more we raise for Chicago Public Schools in need. #supportCPS”

Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre teamed up with Jimmy Lovine to donate $70 million to the University of Southern California. Their funds helped establish the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. This move allows students to get involved in various fields such as marketing, computer science, audio/visual engineering, and the arts.

J. Cole

The Dreamville Foundation works to uplift the youth in J. Cole’s hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina. The foundation hosts a Young Men’s Book Club, community dinners, back-to-school supply giveaways, panels, and recently raised money to aid those affected by Hurricane Florence.

Mike WiLL Made-It & Slim Jxmmi

In 2018, Mike WiLL Made-It began his Making Wishes Matter Foundation. The rapper teamed up with Slim Jxmmi to award $10,000 college scholarships to ten students across the country, striving to empower young people to discover their talents. The organization also puts on activities and opportunities for less fortunate families.


Quavo gave back to student-athletes in a unique way. He is partnering with Finish Line to provide custom LeBron 15s for the basketball team at his alma matter, Berkmar High School.

Big Sean

Big Sean has been working overtime to give back to the youth in his home state of Michigan. For example, the rapper has donated to Wayne State University’s HIGH (Helping Individuals Go Higher) program, which supplies “short-term support” to disadvantaged students. HIGH offers food, shelter, and childcare services. Sean has also partnered with Adidas to build a recording studio at Detroit’s Cass Technical High School. In 2013, he founded the Sean Anderson Foundation, which aims “to assist in the education, health, safety, and well-being of Detroit area… [and] in other areas across the nation.”


JAY-Z has given back to the community in ample ways throughout his legendary career. The hip hop community has seen JAY give back on an individual scale and in partnership with others, such as with his wife Beyoncé. In 2018, the power couple and their respective charitable organizations, joined forces to award over $1 million to college students while on their On The Run II tour.

Kanye West

Kanye West’s relationship with education may be one of contrast. The rapper launched his career through the narrative of dropping out of college to pursue his artistry full-time. However, in honor of his mother, the late Dr. Donda West, he founded Donda’s House. The nonprofit is dedicated to providing art education programs to children in impoverished communities in Chicago. West personally donated $133,000 to kickstart the initiative.


Through the Common Ground Foundation, Common works “to empower high school students from under-served communities to become future leaders.” The program provides mentorship resources for students, as well as organizes community service projects.

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