Inspiration comes in many forms for artists. Just ask Kendrick Lamar, who was so moved by a New Jersey High School’s Hip-Hop Lit class that he boarded a plane for the East Coast to meet the students. 29-Year-Old Brian Mooney, a teacher at High Tech High School in North Bergen, N.J. found some very similar themes between one the course’s books, Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye and Kendrick’s TPAB album. When word got back to K. Dot, he felt he had to pay these young group of writers, poets, rappers, creatives, etc a visit.

“Something even — for me — even bigger than mentoring is really listening,” he says. “And when I do that, we have a little bit bigger connection than me being Kendrick Lamar and you being a student. It’s almost like we’re friends, you know? Because a friend listens and we learn off each others’ experiences.”