Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, achieved critical acclaim after its release and now it’s a hot commodity in the world of academia. The Grammy-nominated album is the focus of a English composition class this fall at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, GA. The class, “Good Kids, Mad Cities,” studies K. Dot’s album and compares/contrasts it to the works of poets/authors Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, James Joyce and the 1991 John Singleton film Boyz in the Hood. The course description reads, “By studying and analyzing various literature, films, and K. Dot’s album, we will consider what effects our characters’ surroundings have on who they become as adults.”
“With Kendrick’s album, you’ve got gang violence, you’ve got child-family development in the inner city, you’ve got drug use and the war on drugs, you’ve got sex slavery, human trafficking – a lot of the things that are hot-button issues for today are just inherent in the world of Compton, California,” instructor Adam Diehl told USA Today about why he chose to base the class around that album.
The class of 33 is required to listen to the 12-track effort once a week and complete writing assignments citing the project. This isn’t the first time hip hop has found it’s way into the classroom. Aside from Kendrick Lamar, Professor Michael Eric Dyson of Georgetown University has taught classes on rappers Nas and Jay Z. The Ivy League caught on in 2002 when Harvard University launched a Hip Hop Archive and Research Institute that awards fellowships and studies the impact of the culture.
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