Strathmore Uni Sets An Exam Question Based On Kendrick Lamar’s Vanity Slave

Students of Strathmore Uni witnessed something very unusual lately during one of their examinations.

Imagine the stress of reading for a tough examination. Of course you would already know that it is more important than ever to get your ideas across clearly and concisely when answering the questions.

You spend time thinking beforehand about the strategies you might use in the exam room in tackling some expected questions. Now imagine going through all this to get prepared for exams only to be faced with questions from lyrics of hip hop songs – instead of your classroom work.

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That’s exactly what Strathmore Uni students in 4th year Actuarial Science and Financial Economics students woke up to this morning. After revising their theories and formulas, very few of the students expected Kendrick Lamar’s songs to be part of the questions.

In the end of a compulsory semester examination paper at Strathmore Uni, which tested the students’ understanding of consumerism and the dangers associated with it, the a question came with a sublime reference to Lamar’s song, Vanity Slave.

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In the words of Kendrick Lamar (popular rapper of the good kid, m.a.a.d city fAME), “If you get your first big cheque and you cop before you buy a house. You’re a vanity slave.” In the song, Vanity Slave, Mr. Lamar speaks openly about mindless consumerism. Explain three dangers of consumerism. (6 marks)


This is the first time a Kenyan university went gangsta in their exam question by embedding contemporary hip-hop in an exam, at least to our knowledge.

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But a good number of rappers including Lamar and Drake, have had their works make up part of a Uni course material or class topic. Who said listening to hip hop has no gain?

Here is an excerpt of Lamar’s hit:

I care about my pride too much, if my clothes is new
if my ride is plush, if my hair is cut, if my diamonds is crushed
I look in the mirror, I’m trendy enough? Wrong
Insecurity roams the black community

Homes where kids must have jewelry
The high school female need earrings and details
so she can be cool to be amongst popularity

The various name brands that reach the price scan
that’s not about the right price, but more like the right scam
to rule us all, confuse us all