College Professor Builds English Course Around Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City

By Chris DeVille / September 2, 2014

Several reviewers compared Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city to James Joyce’s modernist novel Ulysses, in that both of them chronicled the twists and turns of a day in the life of a young urbanite. The comparison wasn’t lost on Adam Diehl, a professor at Georgia Regents University, who built an entire English course using Lamar’s album as a prism to explore other similar stories in film and literature. As USA Today reports, “Good Kids, Mad Cities” will touch on works by Joyce, James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Spike Lee among others. Here’s how the course is described at the university’s website:

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. ​

Sounds like fun. Good idea, Adam Diehl!