This Professor Can 'Spit a 16' and Then Find Its Square Root

This Professor Can 'Spit a 16' and Then Find Its Square Root 1

Kelvin Ma for The Chronicle

Peter Plourde, also known as Lyrical, is an accomplished Boston-area rapper with a surprising day job: He teaches mathematics at Northeastern U. and other local colleges.

It is safe to say that few members of the math faculty get asked the kind of question that Peter M. Plourde did at the start of a recent algebra class here at Northeastern University.

"Plourde," a student, Behailu Abreha, said, "who's better lyrically, J. Cole or Drake?"

Mr. Plourde paused, taking in the question about the two rappers. "You put me on the spot," he said before analyzing each man's writing ability, weighing how such factors as their use of profanity complicated