By Bobby Ellis

Fans of hip-hop music have known for years that it has been used by artists to express feelings and shed light onto topics affecting their neighborhoods and communities. 

NyRee Clayton-Taylor, a teacher at Wheatley Elementary (Jefferson County) and the 2019 Kentucky Elementary Teacher of the Year, has made a 17-year career out of using these principles in her classroom. She uses hip-hop and music to help her students better understand language and to help connect them to different themes in their lessons. 

She also has incorporated it into a two-week long summer camp known as iRap (Informative Reading through Artistic Performance) Camp. 

As part of the camp, students learned about historical figures and created raps based on their lives and their work. 

After two-weeks of practice, the students performed a live show in front of an audience of their parents, teachers and even a local radio DJ.