A teacher who went viral freestyling to a classroom full of students has ‘got flow’ according to 50 Cent – but says he’d still beat him in a freestyle battle.
Christian Foley was filmed rapping to a year-eight students at the Cardinal Pole School in Hackney, north-east London.
The video, posted on the 24-year-old’s social media pages, was then shared by the rap megastar, 50 Cent, who wrote: “He actually got some flow.”
Having watched his video rack up more than 37 million views on his YouTube channel, under his stage name Just Muz, Christian is now set to take the world by storm and has even received phone calls from Oprah Winfrey’s team.
He said: “The 50 Cent thing was absolutely mental. I think it’s so funny, the idea of a gangster rapper, who, on his first album, was shown covered in bullet holes, enjoying a video of some teacher in east London.
“I’ve had calls from Oprah’s show in the US, who want me to go over there. I was on 5 Live this morning, freestyling Prime Minister’s Questions. It’s just crazy.”
Christian insists that he is not just a “rapper who teaches, or even a teacher who raps”, but has made a career out of combining the two things.
He said: “Basically, I was a professional poet for about six years, so this is not really a story about a teacher who can suddenly rap – I’ve been doing this for a long time.
“I was played on Radio 1 last week, so it’s something that I’m reasonably well-established in.
“What I am is a poet in residence working in schools’ English departments – they’ve set up a new scheme and I’m basically their poet in residence in the long-term.”
It all started, according to Christian, when he enrolled on an extremely exclusive course at university in London.
He said: “I am one of about eight people in the UK who enrolled on a special masters degree at Goldsmiths University.
“Their plan was to get six poets from around the UK and to turn them into teachers and then send them out to various schools.
“This was three years ago, and some of them have just gone straight back into poetry full-time, but I took it and ran with it.”
Christian now claims that he is “dedicating his life” to the hybrid career, but said: “But even before that I have been a rapper, a musician, making hip-hop and that sort of thing, and I just found that the two careers went hand in hand.
“I was doing this stuff at school, even in sixth form, and a teacher took to me to one side and said, ‘you’re really good at this, could you give it a go with some of our younger students’.
“So I started doing it in year-seven classes, and I loved it. I love performing and getting the best out of students.
“Eight years later, I’m still doing it. I must’ve taught thousands of students.”
Christian teaches in schools, prisons and youg offender’s institutions, and said he gets an overwhelmingly positive reaction in each.
He said: “It depends on the school, but it’s always positive. Because for them, it’s a break from the traditional, prescriptive teaching they’re used to.”
In the video that has since gone viral, Christian is challenged to get certain words into his freestyle, including the words ‘orange’, ‘Copenhagen’ and ‘antagonistic’.
He said: “The kids aren’t allowed phones in schools, so it was actually my phone they used.
“I literally had so many video from that day, and I accidentally deleted a better one.
“I’m still pretty happy with the one that’s out there though, so I don’t really mind.
“The thing about it is that it just looks out of the ordinary to the rest of the world.
“But I’m just so used to it. That’s just what I do.”
Despite receiving praise from 50 Cent, Christian said he could still beat in a freestyle battle.
He said: “If I didn’t know how to do it, then I would be daunted by it. People who have sold a lot of records, like 50 Cent, he just wouldn’t have it in his skill-set.
“To be able to improvise is a really difficult skill, but it’s weirdly something I can do.
“It’s like a snooker payer who doesn’t just pot a ball, he’s thinking about the next red and then the black.
“I can see the words coming up and I can just adjust to it and go with it.”