This fall Adam Diehl, professor at Georgia Regents University, is teaching English course that will use Kendrick Lamar's highly-praised 2012 album good kid, m.a.a.d. city as a jumping-off point for a semester-long deep dive into comparable stories about young urbanites in film and literature. The reading (or watching or listening, such as the case may be) also includes canonical works by the likes of James Joyce, James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Spike Lee. As the university's course book describes "Good Kids, Mad Cities":
Taking its name from Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 album, this course will examine the role of urban living on the development of young people. In Kendrick’s case, “the streets sure to release the worst side of my best” (Lamar 58). 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. The cities we will be visiting, in our imaginations, are Dublin, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Assignments will include a substantial research paper, stemming from the topics inherent in our texts; students should also expect other writing assignments, such as short papers and online discussion posts. >
When asked about hip-hop's place in the classroom, Diehl explained that, “I think the main thing that hip-hop brings — it’s the more journalistic art form within pop culture. Whether it’s White Lines, which is about the cocaine epidemic in the ‘80s, or J. Cole’s new song on the Mike Brown situation, hip-hop is about immediate feedback to the world people observe around them.” So, where do we register?