Penn State Students Introduce Class Following Rapper Kid Cudi

Every semester, Penn State students have the opportunity to pitch ideas for a one or three-credit class that they would like to teach to their peers. The program, Students Teaching Students (STS), often lets students share their excitement for any number of topics with their fellow classmates.

This spring, students Sean Farahani, Brad Scanlon, and Frank Schoepfer will join the STS roster and show their passion for hip hop music by teaching ENGL 197: Critique And Kid Cudi: Analyzing Hip Hop.

Since the course is heavily focused on music, it may seem that the three guys were a part of music majors or other musical organizations. However, the three study risk management and real estate, kinesiology, and even biomedical engineering.

“Music is just something that I really got into over the past four years on a deeper level outside of class,” Farahani said.

“I really became interested [in music] in high school and through college, and it has been a big part of my life,” Scanlon added.

Their combined love for music and Kid Cudi brought the three together to put the curriculum and class together for the spring. The class helps them to spread their passion for rap to other students at Penn State.

A good chunk of their inspiration for this course came from a previous STS class called “Criticism of Kanye,” which was taught in the spring of 2020. This class similarly focused on Kanye West and was a huge success on campus, so the three of them decided to build off of that.

“I have to give credit to Biz and Cory — the guys that created Criticism of Kanye — the class that was offered by students teaching students two years ago. It was a class that I took and it really gave me a huge foundation for critiquing music and analyzing music,” Farahani said.

Throughout this course, the main goal is to take the students through the history, culture, and technology that is behind hip-hop, while also working on a case study of famous rapper Kid Cudi.

“Obviously, we’re going to start off with the history of hip hop and some of the genres that really influence that start of hip hop,” Farahani said. “Another big part of our class is a theory called the ‘death of the author,’ which is essentially an argument of whether or not the author’s personal life outside of their work should be considered when critiquing their work.”

The instructors also described how they will also be teaching rhetoric and other literary devices to analyze the music.

As they were putting together the coursework, these common themes came about and they realized that Kid Cudi was the perfect fit. Cudi has been in the music industry for 18 years and produced seven albums throughout his music career.

“His work is so personal, so obviously, his life outside of music plays a big part of how we view that art,” Farhani said.

Cudi has been a personal favorite of all three of these guys and they even go as far as calling themselves “fangirls” for the rapper. Overall, they say he cultivates the true meaning of what they are trying to teach while producing some amazing art.

Kid Cudi, if you’re reading this, their favorite songs are “Mr. Rager,” “Erase Me,” and “By Design.”

For a full list of next semester’s STS classes, you can follow the program on Instagram or read another Onward State article about it here.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a senior staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music or Penn State wrestling and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs in Beaver Stadium. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected].

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