In my essay (MLA), I talk about Kendrick Lamar's album titled good kid, m.A.A.d city (stylized like that). Which of the following ways would be the correct way to title my essay:

  1. Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city as a Coming of Age Story
  2. Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid, M.A.A.D City as a Coming of Age Story

Also, in essay titles, titles of works are not placed in quotation marks right?

  • It should remain typeset as by the original author. When I've seen a title as part of another title it's usually within quotation marks. What does MLA say about titles in other titles, regardless? – Mazura Jan 8 '19 at 4:45
  • I can't find anything about that unfortunately. – Killster Jan 8 '19 at 5:37

From the MLA Handbook (8th ed.):

1.2 Titles of Sources

Whenever you use the title of a source in your writing, take the title from an authoritative location in the work, not, for example, from the cover or the top of the page. Copy the title without reproducing any unusual typography, such as special capitalization or lowercasing of all letters.

As for italics or quotation marks, again from MLA:

1.2.2 Italics and Quotation Marks

Most titles should be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks. In general, italicize the titles of sources that are self-contained and independent (e.g., books) and the titles of containers (e.g., anthologies); use quotation marks for the titles of sources that are contained in larger works (e.g. short stories).

In other words, the styling used on the album cover is almost certainly not the styling used in its legal copyright information. But even if by some chance it is, MLA says to ignore that.

Also, the title of the album would be in italics, while the title of each song would be in quotation marks.

Therefore, the title of the album should look like this:

Good Kid, M.A.A.D City

  • The way the album is titled is actually stylized good kid, m.A.A.d city, so it's not just the way it's written on the album cover. – Killster Jan 8 '19 at 14:15
  • @Killster Even if that is what it says in the copyright information inside the CD cover, the MLA Style Guide is clear in saying that the unusual typography should be ignored when referencing it. – Jason Bassford Jan 8 '19 at 15:21

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