April 19, 2024

WCU Assistant Professor Jeremy McCool Inks Deal to Publish Book About the Musical and Cultural Contributions of Kendrick Lamar and J. ColeJeremy McCool

West Chester University Assistant Professor Jeremy C. McCool and award-winning journalist Earl Hopkins have inked a deal with DC-based publisher Rowman & Littlefield to pen a book about Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. Their forthcoming book will be an exploration into the cultural and musical contributions that the two iconic figures have made in hip-hop the past decade.

The working title How J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar Saved Hip-Hop is slated for release in Fall 2026. Dr. McCool and Hopkins will delve into the compelling journey of the musical revolutionaries, from their rise as young, promising MCs to stalwarts of socially conscious rap in mainstream music. Through research and interviews with musicians and hip-hop historians, McCool and Hopkins will illuminate how Cole and Lamar revitalized a fading subgenre and preserved an integral piece of hip-hop history through their music and brand of activism.

“We are excited to convey the impact of the modern era of hip-hop as both consumers and critics who lived through it and experienced the resurgence firsthand,” says McCool. “This book will be a staple for both hip-hop fans and media scholars. It will both discuss socially conscious rap in its proper place as a cultural phenomenon and detail how it has evolved with the help of modern innovators such as Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole.”

Hopkins adds, "While Cole and Lamar have achieved immense commercial success with chart-topping hits and platinum-selling albums, their confessional poetry and soul-stirring verses have kept the flame of socially conscious rap still burning for over a decade.  We wanted to highlight their efforts in the hope that it will inspire future artists to tackle cultural, political, and social issues more in their music.”

Dr. Jeremy C. McCool is a renowned and award-winning media professor, speaker, and consultant. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Media at West Chester University. With a background as a hip-hop radio personality, his research, teaching, and national lectures focus on socially conscious music and representation. McCool was named a 40 Under 40 honoree by Pittsburgh Magazine in 2021. Additionally, he was named the 2022 Hughes Lecturer at West Liberty University, where he delivered an impactful lecture on socially conscious hip-hop music.

Earl Hopkins is an award-winning journalist who’s been at the center of arts, culture, and entertainment news at various outlets throughout his career. He’s currently a features reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, covering the local music, fashion, art, and film industry. He has also written for GRAMMY.com, MTV, Complex, Stereogum, UPROXX, and other publications.




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