The latest entry in the children’s education-through-music arena is the DVD series, “It’s Hip Hop, Baby!” Released nationally today (3/17) through Rhino Records, the multicultural series targets children ages 2 to 6. The premise: teaching children valuable developmental tools at an early age through family-friendly hip-hop rhythms and beats as well as fun dance routines.

The four DVD offerings (list-priced at $14.98) include “Get Healthy. Get
Fit,” “Things We Do Everyday,” “All Your Child’s Favorites” and “Rockin’ Dance Party!” In addition to helping children develop listening skills and learning how to follow simple directions, the DVDs teach and reinforce the ABC’s, colors, numbers and hygiene, among other fundamentals. Aiding these efforts are such personalities as Miss Dre and a cool cat puppet named Hip Hop Simon.

“It’s Hip Hop, Baby!” is the brainchild of Chicago-based television producer and mother of two, Candi Carter. After discovering her son’s delayed speech disability, Carter embarked on a mission to combat the challenge. In making up songs to help him better grasp various concepts, she found that music and rhyme were two effective methods of engaging attention and boosting retention.

As a result, Carter decided to produce a CD two years ago, “It’s Hip Hop, Baby!: Fruit,” which has since won a parenting award. She wrote the original music for the 29-track CD ($13.98), working with vocal group the Soul Children of Chicago and music producer Johnny Billups, among others. That in turn led to establishing a Web site and eventually the deal with Rhino to distribute the entire series.

“I’m not recreating the wheel,” says Carter. “It’s just another fun, hip way of accelerating the learning process. Even parents like listening to the family-friendly hip-hop, telling me there’s something addictive about the music.”