A nationally known scholar and successful rapper will headline a Feb. 12-13 symposium at West Virginia University on hip-hops impact on society.

Cornel West , one of Americas most provocative intellectuals, and Talib Kweli , one of the most successful socially conscious hip-hop musicians, will be the keynote speakers for The Evolution of Street Knowledge: Hip-Hops Influence on Law and Culture. The symposium, presented by the WVU College of Law Sports and Entertainment Law Society , is free and open to the public.

Westwhose talk is part of WVU s Festival of Ideas will speak at 4 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Mountainlair ballrooms. Kweli will speak at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 in the College of Laws Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom, where the two-day symposium is being held.

Additionally, more than 20 legal scholars, intellectuals and music industry representatives will take part in four panel discussions on hip-hops influence on U.S. law and its impact on intellectual property, the music industry and global culture.

Hip-hop has profoundly impacted culture in obvious ways,said andré douglas pond cummings , a WVU law professor and symposium chairman.What has been less explored, however, is the impact that the hip-hop movement has had on the law and the attitudes of lawmakers and law abiders.

This symposium will analyzewith precisionthe ways that hip-hop music has left a global footprint and how it continues to impact the law and the decisions of those who choose whether to abide by the law,cummings added.

Westhas garnered national acclaim for his writing, speaking and teachingwhich weave together the traditions of the black Baptist church, progressive politics and jazz.

His many books include the best-sellersRace Matters,a searing analysis of racism in America, andDemocracy Matters,a look at the arrested development of democracy both in the U.S. and the Middle East. His latest book,Hope on a Tightrope,presents a collection of views on the current state of American politics and culture.

He has also released three albums. His latest,Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations,is a collection of socially conscious music featuring collaborations with several hip-hop artists, including Kweli. The album topped the charts as Billboards No. 1 spoken word album.

West was an influential force in developing the story line for the popularMatrixmovie trilogy. He also served as the trilogys official spokesman and played a recurring role in the final two films.

He earned two bachelors degrees in three years from Harvard University and his doctorate from Princeton University.

He is currently a professor at Princeton.

Hip-hop artist Kwelihas shown the ability to educate and entertain in his music.

He has released four solo studio albums, all gathering critical acclaim. His most recent,Eardrum,debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, marking the highest debut in Kwelis career. It was the first release under his newly formed Blacksmith Records.

Kweli has also had an impact beyond his music. In 2000, he and fellow rapper Mos Def bought Nkiru Books, the oldest African-American bookstore in Brooklyn in response to the lack of literary material for blacks. The bookstore has since been renamed the Nkiru Center for Education and Culture, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy and multicultural awareness for people of color.

The WVU College of Law , in celebration of Black History Month, collaborated with the following organizations to present this symposium: WVU Festival of Ideas , WVU Center for Black Culture and Research , WVU Office of Social Justice , American Constitution Society, Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishing, Westlaw, WVU College of Law Student Bar Association and the WVU College of Law Black Law Student Association .

More about the symposium on the Net: http://www.law.wvu.edu/streetknowledge