We're fresh off the heels of the official 50th birthday of hip hop as an art form and culture. When DJ Kool Herc created the sound in 1973, he likely never imagined the genre would grow to such monumental heights. Even Biggie Smalls said, whoever thought that hip hop would take it this far. And while the music can be heard across the globe, the only way to truly preserve its legacy, is with education. Enter Pendulum Ink founder and dean of students, Mickey Factz.

The rapper launched his comprehensive curriculum which centers education in hip hop lyricism with courses like "Rap Theory" and "Lyrical & Literary Technique." Students are also offered the opportunity to learn the music business with courses like "Hip-Hop According to Finance."

"Creating a safe space and community for emcee's has been my passion for some time now," Mickey Factz tells EBONY. "We felt that lyricism, hip hop and the business, mental health and everything else that encompassed the culture should be celebrated. We need to take back our culture in a way that will last for generations to come, and doing so with action and purpose is the only way how."

Like any other educational program, the emcee leans of a talented roster of professors and teachers to bring the courses full circle. But, students are also treated to some of the industry's best rappers and wordsmiths, too.

"The community aspect has been one of the best things our students are able to be a part of. Sharing content, ideas and trauma allows for them to grow in ways they wouldn't have dreamed," Factz shares. "Also, the chance to interact with Hip Hop legends such as Twista, Method Man, Masta Ace, Inspectah Deck, Ras Kass and many more has been lifelong dreams for the cohort. Lastly, our graduation brought people from all races and countries together to share in the accomplishment of hip hop, with Bun B as our commencement speaker."

Pendulum Ink Founder Mickey Factz. Image: K-Mos Photos.

In addition to marking hip hop's 50th anniversary, throughout August the program will host its second annual Women's Month, which will feature special women-focused/led courses, workshops, and events to highlight women's influence on the culture. On August 7, Philly Rap legend Bahamadia led the school's online course on the "Evolution Of Rhyme." Pendulum's popular Rhymecology course, which explores mental health through self-expressive rhyme, will round out the month with guest lecturer and rapper Rah Digga.

"I believe the mental health aspect sets a precedent with artist development as well as the entrepreneurial aspect of the art. To be an entrepreneur, it takes a certain level of discipline, and everyone's not mentally prepared to do that," rapper Rah Digga says. "So, that's something I touch on. Also, with artist development, it really drives home mental health because when you're dealing with giving an artist an opportunity to better themselves, sometimes fame and fortune can be misleading. Again, it's one of those things where you just have to be mentally prepared for it all. It's important for artists to be mentally quick to deal with this business, and I always want my students to understand what they are dealing with and are up against, because the industry won't always prepare them."

As we continue to honor this culture, this art form and genre, Rah Digga is letting it be known, that she's "outside" this season to also pay homage.

"As we're celebrating the 50th year of hip hop, it's important for me to be a pat of everything—no matter how big or how small," the "Party and Bullsh*t" rapper explains. "This is a monumental year. Hip hop has reached an important milestone. When we're all dead and gone, my name needs to be a part of as much stuff as possible. I've devoted my life to this and sacrificed so much for it—I need my things."