Lil’ Kim Course, Syracuse University
In fall 2004, Professor Greg Thomas introduced the dopest course ever to grace the English and Textual Studies department at Syracuse University. Students of Thomas’ Hip-Hop Eshu: Queen Bitch 101 class learned about gender, sexuality, hip-hop and African diaspora through the music of Lil’ Kim. Songs throughout her discography were given the poetry explication treatment, and Kim was examined as a modern-day Eshu, the trickster deity in some West African religions. Critics balked at a college-level course giving the floor to a woman who refused to play by the patriarchal lady-in-the-street rules, but as Thomas showed, the petite spitter from Brooklyn had big things to contribute to the conversation on sexual politics.