“Started From the Bottom”: Understanding the American Dream with Drake’s New Single

In this lesson, students will use Drake’s new single “Started From the Bottom” to learn about the American Dream. The American Dream is a prevalent theme in hip hop culture as many stars have emerged from impoverished backgrounds. Students will apply their understanding of the American Dream to a public leader, past or present, of their choice.


Some media may contain mature content. Discretion is advised when viewing with students.

Lesson Plan

Play Drake's song "Started From the Bottom" for students and have them read the lyrics. Explain that this song, quite simply, embodies the American Dream. It conveys a set of ideals in which hard work and dedication can lead to upward mobility and success. Even if one has "started from the bottom" (as Drake so aptly puts it), the American Dream states that anyone can rise to the top. This principle is also conveyed in The Declaration of Independence: "all men are created equal," are "endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights" such as "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

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Lesson tags: Eighth, History, Music, Ninth, Pop Culture, Seventh, Sixth, Social Studies

Cassie Brown

Cassie Brown Cassie Brown is an award-winning playwright and performer as well as an experienced educator. Cassie currently teaches enrichment classes in magic, model airplane building, and outdoor adventure skills. She has a degree in Early Childhood Development in addition to a Bachelor's in Film Studies with a minor in Education. Cassie honed her understanding of student-centered education while at Sesame Street, where she spent years learning the value of combining entertainment with education.