First Wave is the first and only full tuition hip-hop scholarship in the country.


To provide innovative, culturally relevant hip-hop art programs to inspire engagement, learning, and activism for diverse communities.

Administered by the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI), the First Wave Learning Community is the first university program in the country centered on urban arts, spoken word and hip-hop culture.


Over 40% of all First Wave students have already studied abroad in a multitude of countries. This includes study of film in Paris and cultural learning activities in Rio de Janeiro.

First Wave students are published authors, nationally renowned and internationally ranked poets, rappers making noise on the underground, and community organizers. 

PBS Documentary on First Wave: Hip-Hop U


OMAI Events

Just Bust Open Mic: Every first Friday of the month

Passing the Mic Festival: Fall Semester

Moonshine: Black History Month

Line Breaks Festival: Spring Semester National Poetry Month

Hip-Hop in the Heartland: Summer Teaching Institute