Kendrick Lamar Inspires "Good Kid, Mad Cities" English Composition Class

Exclusive: Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia aspires to incite great discussion and thought about Urban America via Kendrick Lamar's debut album.

Kendrick Lamar’s debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, has inspired a new English composition class at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia. The class, which alongside good kid, m.A.A.d city uses James Joyce, James Baldwin and Gwendolyn Brooks, as well as the 1991 movie Boyz N The Hood as its primary source of material, looks to examine works of literature that involve young people growing up in Dublin, New York, Chicago, and Compton/Los Angeles. 

According to the course goals, class aims to help students “become a better writer, a better reader, a better analyzer, a better person, and a better appreciator of the language of the street: Hip Hop.”

In an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, class instructor Adam Diehl spoke about the origins of the course and why he believes it’s important to cover the historical significance of an album so recently released.

Addressing the origins of the class, lecturer Diehl says he decided to focus on Kendrick’s good kid, m.A.A.d city because of the “complexity of its storytelling” and the “continuing focus on the city of his upbringing—Compton.”

“I was given the opportunity to create my own theme for the class,” Diehl says. "I decided to center the class on good kid, m.A.A.d city because I think Kendrick Lamar is the James Joyce of Hip Hop--i.e. in the complexity of his storytelling, in his knowledge of the canon, and in his continuing focus on the city of his upbringing—Compton. The course is a freshman composition course, so I am teaching these works (i.e. [James Joyce's] A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Gwendolyn Brooks' Selected Poems, James Baldwin's Going to Meet the Man, Boyz N The Hood, and good kid, m.A.A.d city) in the context of writing a research paper about one of the issues involved in the texts (e.g. gang warfare, police brutality, racism, incarceration rates, human trafficking, etc.). The class will hopefully produce much discussion about the issues that Joyce/Baldwin/Brooks/Singleton/Lamar raise, and hopefully the content of the class will inspire students to find an outlet to bring some sanity to our own mad city--Augusta.” 

“Good Kid, Mad Cities” is the first class to use K.Dot’s debut album as its primary source of material and the first to study an album so recently released. Discussing such, instructor Diehl says the subject matter and ultimately the message of Kendrick’s 2012 album makes it “worthy of university status.” 

“The lasting historical influence of good kid, m.A.A.d city has yet to be determined, but the album surely has brought new listeners to the genre because of the curiosity surrounding its instant acclaim,” he says. “Hip Hop purists have even stopped pretending it's E 1999 eternal and admitted that Kendrick is as good as his ‘Control' verse claims. In choosing this album for inclusion in my course, I am making the claim that great Hip Hop albums deserve the level of academic analysis and discussion that has eluded many other classic LPs (to be fair, plenty of G.O.A.T. emcees have been addressed in academia, but the discussion of a particular album is very rare). The narrative complexity, the structure, the allusions, the subject matter, the characters, and most of all the message make good kid, m.A.A.d city worthy of university status. Hopefully my course will inspire other teachers at all levels to include modern masterpieces in their syllabi.” 

The “Good Kid, Mad Cities” class was slated to being today (August 19), with the final examination slated for December 11, 2014. 

RELATED: Kendrick Lamar Says He's "Trying To Murder" Drake, J. Cole, Wale On Big Sean's "Control"

45 Comments

  • KelzCT

    you're just hearing about this album now?

  • Anonymous

    Kendrick wishes he was French Montana cause then he'd go to bed every night with Khloe Kardasian riding his dick.

    • Anonymous

      Why would Kendrick want to be a Arab who can't rap, can't sell albums, and sleep with a bitch that looks like a man and has had a train ran through her like her sisters?

  • Anonymous

    I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that's cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do,,,,, ========================= WWW.CASHTOT.COM =========================

  • Lu

    A win for hiphop overall

  • Anonymous

    i can't stand his anoying voice

  • Stainzz8

    respect for this. good look for hip hop

  • Alecboyh

    For real that's sick kids would be way more interested in analysing kendrick lyrics than some dusty classical literature Hip teachers taking the W

  • PORTUK

    i love that this albums and hip hop has been getting alot more respect it deserves from the literature side of things. good kid, mad city, peer pressure, sing about me, money trees are the main ones i really see as being something a class could talk about but shit like sherene, poetic justice(maybe could slide kennys last verse in), and back seat freestyle would be for pure entertainment. then again it really is the most and popular acclaimed album that gives alot of diffrent elements of hip hop on it. i think this maybe the highest praise for a writter imo

  • steelez

    kendrick is really giving me faith in hip hop

  • jdilla

    kendrick is the bob dylan of hip hop

  • GOATmaybe

    Aesop Rock is the James Joyce of Hip Hop. K-Dot still good though.

  • Anonymous

    Excuse My French was an instant classic, it would be a better choice.

  • Anonymous

    Congrats to K. Dot; this the type of influence we need more, none of that feminine turn up/emo/tight jeans nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    dat album was horrible, overrated piece of trash

  • aroon

    Looks like Aftermath got another classic "2001" , "The Marshall Mathers LP", "Get Rich or Die Tryin", now "good kid, m.A.A.d city"

  • BBCFRIBERG

    I haven't left a comment on what use to be m favortie site in ages. However, this album has reignited hip hop. Real talk i describe this album as perfect. At first, I was a little lost by the "skits" because they have been missing in hip hop. I was thrown off by the fact that all the songs were woven together. It was like revisiting illmatic but with a new age flow, more creativity, better beats, hell everything we have now. I mean, the lyrics, concepts, story telling, metaphors are all just amazing. Add in the fact that we got to see this kid grow from k.dot to kendrick lamar. He set the bar. Please follow.

  • CanadanotPure

    Pac died at 25. Kendrick starts to carry the throne at 25 should be some good years to come

    • Anonymous

      KENDRICK DUCKWORTH SUCKED TUPACS DICK IN A DREAM YALL...... IT WAS A VISION!!!! "UHH YEAH BABAY!!! DONT LET MY MUSIC..DIE!! OH YEAH SUCK IT BITCH!!!!!!! UHHHHGHGHGHHGHGH SCREAMING WEST SIDE AS I NUTTED" - 2Pac in Kendrick Duckworths dream.

  • KT

    Kendrick Lamar: Single handedly bringing the REAL Hip-Hop back!

  • 123456

    this nigga already has 2 classic albums under his belt

  • check

    I'm glad this album is already on every "best albums of all time "list

  • pablo5

    This album is ahead of its time. Perfection from start to finish. The best hip-hop debut since Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor.

  • zeezeerax

    This deserves every bit of this rating. This shit is a CLASSIC.

  • absolute232

    not a fan of kendrick but...This album will go down as one of the best albums of all time for any genre just like Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt, Ready to Die and the other rap albums that are considered the best of all time. When those albums came out we didn't understand how great they because were very young at the time. Now we have a chance to witness a classic and a legend in the making. The storytelling is amazing. It's like a movie. You can't just listen to a couple of songs or skip through. You have to listen straight through from beginning to end.

  • colemaid

    I had a similar class last week, it was dope as fuck One of the best Album I ever heard!! Point Blank!!

  • mdemaz

    Wow. One thing I liked about the production of this album is that the beats are different from current hip hop albums and it sounded like all the producers were on the same page. It almosts seems as if the whole album was produced by one person. That's how smoothly the album flows. Great Album Kendrick.

  • sza

    Good god, I havent heard an album like this in a GOOD minute. I will actually purchase this rather than download it. If hip hop artist pumped out more stuff like this, labels could move units like it was '98.

  • Volt

    Amazing album. When I listen to it, it was more than music, it was a story of a person just like me with dreams, fear, dangers, trouble, happiness, adolescence and maturity. He stayed true to his roots he kept it original but different. God bless Kendrick Lamar and hip hop.

  • furbase

    Kendrick is the future

  • Eil_Johnson

    gkmc might be one of my favorite albums ever

  • Anonymous

    Kendrick Lamar is highly overrated. Excuse My French would be a better choice.

  • Anonymous

    Can't imagine the students who are taking this class. Must be undeclared majors with big ears and poor taste in music.

    • LUlu

      I'm a History major in this class. I'm not rap/hip hop's target demographic and I had no clue who K. Dot/Kendrick Lamar was until Tuesday. The class is ENGL 1102 which is required. Mr. Diehl had the opportunity to create his own academic theme and use supporting sources. GRU has one of the best (and hardest) in the Southeast. The purpose of the class isn't to make everyone Kendrick Lamar fans but to appreciate the materials and acknowledge the correlation between them. What Mr. Diehl does not lack is passion and objective knowledge. I still don't know if Mr. Diehl is a genius or loc, which I've learned can mean insane or crazy. Not Library of Congress as I assumed.

    • Sarcasm

      Oh, yeah. People who listen to Kendrick Lamar obviously have poor music taste as opposed to people who listen to French Montana, 2 Chainz, Rich Homie Quan, Migos, Young Thug, etc. Why put effort into lyrics and songwriting when you can make the same simple stuff over and over again?

    • Anonymous

      Guess what? No one cares what some uneducated idiot like you think.

  • french vanilla

    Get the ever loving fuck out of here with this bullshit. What has Kendrick Lamar done for this culture except amass a following of dick riders? He's highly overrated. You're wasting your time with this composition class idea. If you really want to teach the kids the basics, then I suggest you create curriculum based on the lyrics of Excuse My French.

    • Anonymous

      Listen to Section 80 and GKMC. Dude's one of the best. And bo one's gonna learn shit from Excuse My French outside of how horrible it is.

  • Anonymous

    Hip Hop purists have even stopped pretending it's E 1999 eternal and admitted that Kendrick is as good as his Control' verse claims." what is that supposed to mean? e 1999 eternal is a classic and i'll personally take it over kendrick anyday.

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