R203. The Literary Genius of Kendrick Lamar

Diamond Salon 6&7, JW Marriott LA, 3rd Floor
Thursday, March 31, 2016
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


Hip-hop and literature have always intersected, but the genres find an even greater connection in the work of Compton, California’s Kendrick Lamar, who has released three albums that rival the greatest works of fiction and creative nonfiction in depth of theme, imagery, and storytelling complexity. In this panel, writers influenced by Lamar's work discuss what writers can learn about storytelling from the rapper's albums, which are novelistic in both scope and structure.



Rion Amilcar Scott has contributed to the Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, PANK, and the Rumpus, among others. He is the author of the story collection, Wolf Tickets. He earned an MFA from George Mason University and teaches English at Bowie State University.

Mensah Demary is the associate web editor for Catapult, and the editor of Specter magazine. His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in PANK, Electric Literature, Salon, and elsewhere. He also cohosts LIT: A Music and Reading Series. 

Nate Marshall is the author of Wild Hundreds, winner of the 2014 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. He is one of the editors of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. He teaches at Wabash College. He is a founding member of the collective Dark Noise, and he is also a rapper.

Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson. He is an associate professor of English at Vassar College and is the author of the novel, Long Division, a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.

Natalie Graham, assistant professor of African American Studies at California State University, Fullerton, earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Florida and PhD in American studies from Michigan State University.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center