If I had to use songs to teach a lesson, I would use Kendrick Lamar’s new album “To Pimp A Butterfly.” This album can probably be compared to the influence of Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” without much criticism or hate. To be honest, I am still breaking down this album so I’m not quite sure what my lesson plan would entail beyond the current socioeconomic and political condition of the black community from the perspective of a young black man. Lets be honest, the perspective alone is enough reason to teach. Kendrick is from Compton, CA and has a very interesting way of criticizing the governments role in the oppression of black people and black people role “in their own demise.” I’m not saying I completely agree with all of his opinions and his stance, but I think the complexities of his songs and viewpoints would call for very intriguing conversations. This album would also be a great tool to compare “hip hop then and now.” A lot of people criticized hip hop for “dying off” but there are a particular group of rappers of this “younger generation” (maybe 4 to 5 tops) who argue that hip hop is very much alive. I will not list these artists because I am not interested in debating anyone about who belongs and who doesn’t. 🙂 It is however, interesting that Kendrick is often listed in this top 5 rappers and he does not consider himself a rapper. Kendrick is a complex artist and he creates impeccable and intriguing music and I think this 16 track album would be great to use as a text book.