There's no doubt about it: hip-hop artist and rapper Kendrick Lamar's hard-hitting verses, powerful lyrics and pure talent have landed him well-deserved praise and attention (and two Grammys) all over the world.
On a smaller scale, but perhaps equally as important, Lamar's lyrics helped one teacher from North Bergen, N.J., teach his students important themes and language from Toni Morrison's book, "The Bluest Eye."
Lamar's latest album, 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' features tracks like 'Alright' and 'i.' It's also his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart.
Going deeper, Mic explains that "the album deals with many of the same themes as Morrison's 1970 novel — institutional racism, colorism and mental illness."
So Brian Mooney, the teacher at High Tech High School "blended close [Lamar] listenings with his lessons, and his students responded immediately, producing essays, pieces of visual and performance art unpacking the connection between the works," Mic writer Tom Barnes adds.
Then, when Lamar caught wind of Mooney and the students, he decided to show up — big time.
"The New York Times" reports that on Monday, Lamar joined Mooney's world literature, hip-hop literature and slam poetry classes for a very personal, collaborative sharing session.
"When I talk to kids, I'm really listening," Lamar told "The New York Times." "When I do that, we have a little bit of a bigger connection than me being Kendrick Lamar and you being a student. It's almost like we're friends. Because a friend listens."