Timestable MC

If you like math rock, you'll love math rap

Consuelo Robinson is that teacher you always wished you had; kind of like Ryan Gosling without all the crack smoking. As a former math teacher at Pompano Beach Middle School, the Palm Beach resident used to let her students listen to (the less curse-heavy) songs by 50 Cent, Eminem, and Outkast in class. Now that she teaches algebra for Florida Virtual School — an on-line school for students in grades 6-12 — she's doing the rapping herself.

She just dropped her debut album, Hip Hop Tables With Ms. Robinson, and she says she was influenced by rapper Mystikal on her song "9 Times Tables (I'm Ready!)," in which she spits: [9] times 8 is 72, teaching you is what I do. [9] times 9 is 81, lights camera ac-shun! (Each of the album's 14 songs breaks down a table from 1 to 14.)

Her rhymes may be a bit, um, elementary, but her album features up-to-date crunk-style beats, complete with vocal effects and sass to spare. We caught up with Robinson recently over the phone.

Outtakes: Who taught you to rap?

Ms. Robinson: I've been rapping since fifth grade! When I was in middle school, I won a talent show with a rap song that I wrote and performed for the group.

What made you think hip hop and math was a peanut butter-and-chocolate-caliber combination?

Why not implement something positive for the kids? I'm not doing bubble gum music; it's real hip hop that you hear on the radio. I don't want to badmouth any other entertainer out there, but I did my research. All the other musical educators aren't rappers, and they sounded like [in high and squeaky voice] 4 times 4 is 16! Also, they weren't certified teachers, and I'm certified in Florida to teach math.

Why are you rapping about times tables if you teach algebra?

I also do tutoring, and I have a second album next year that's called Algebreakdown. I'm trying to get a distribution deal with Koch Entertainment.

And your students also rap?

We have web meetings with all the students, and I allow them to express themselves, and then they do their rapping. It's funny stuff; sometimes it doesn't make sense. They'll start rapping about bar graphs and integers.

Do you have any kids?

I have a five-year-old daughter who just loves my songs. She knows her times tables [because of my music], but she doesn't know that she knows them. She's in kindergarten. That's one reason I made the album. She was like three years old and had already memorized all these songs on the radio, like Chingy's "Right Thurr."

 
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