Track One

Verse One:

This song is dedicated to all the happy people
All the happy people who have real nice lives
And who have no idea whats it like to be broke as fuck
I feel like I’m walking a tight rope, without a circus net
I’m popping percocets, I’m a nervous wreck
I deserve respect; but I work a sweat for this worthless check
Bout to burst this tech, at somebody to reverse this debt
Minimum wage got my adrenaline caged
Full of venom and rage
Especially when I’m engaged
And my daughter’s down to her last diaper
Eminem

Verse Two:

I wanted to start this with some fancy line that lives up to ‘the preceding paragraph’ – but I couldn’t. My grandmother doesn’t like rap. In fact she despises it.
“I’m going to cut off MTV and VH1 and BET! I can’t believe they show such foolishness on TV!”
I’m sure her opinion is a popular one. If I asked you to describe rap, what words would you use? It’s a popular misconception that all rappers do is talk about money, sex and drugs. However, even if this were true, wouldn’t you look deeper into it and wonder why?

As I was utilizing dictionary.com, I clicked on rap music: a style of popular music, developed by disc jockeys and urban blacks in the late 1970s, in which an insistent, recurring beat pattern provides the background and counterpoint for rapid, slangy, and often boastful rhyming pattern glibly intoned by a vocalist or vocalists. (I apologize for this side note, but the definition of glibly is ‘readily fluent, often thoughtlessly, superficially, or insincerely so.’ I wonder why this adjective was chosen. Aside from other problems I have with this definition, why should one conclude that rap is done in a ‘boastful’ and ‘thoughtless’ manner? The generalization seems almost detrimental to the words reputation.) After I looked up rap, I looked up slang which was defined as: very informal usage in vocabulary and idiom that is characteristically more metaphorical, playful, elliptical, vivid, and ephemeral than ordinary language. I don’t know about you, but I think those two words just contradicted each other. How can something be thoughtless and metaphorical? I don’t think it’s thoughtless, I think it’s brilliance that’s incapable of being measured. It’s an innate brilliance that a chosen few posses. I think I’ve made my point… but hey, that’s what happens when you try to define indefinable words… Anyway, that’s the story of how I looked up hip-hop and ended on elliptical. “Pretty accurate, huh?”

If I were to define the concept of rap by comparing it another form of art, I would compare it to Virginia Wolf’s stream of consciousness. When you hear a person speak slang, do you think of how intelligent they are? ‘Obviously, not’. When someone speaks slang, we all make an assumption that the person is uneducated, or doesn’t know any better. Is this true? If a person chooses to switch between two different “language codes”, is it wrong? Are teenagers who speak slang communicating in a dialect, or are they simply a group of ignorant people consistently making grammatical errors (according to the ‘standard language’, of course).

Rap music breaks convention, and this is what makes people scared. What happens when a minority group actually creates a form of art? What happens when this art form happens to be beautiful because it encompasses the pain and sweat brought upon its’ creators by oppression? What happens when people listen? What happens when the minorities influence popular culture?

Eminem is not only a rap artist, but he’s a person with a story. He grew up in poverty and in his raps, he often tells the story of a person who has been oppressed by society. The above Eminem verse comes from a song called “Rockbottom” from his first released album. When some people hear this song, they only hear the violence, the drugs, and the curses instead of the ‘ugly picture of reality’ it paints. I hope I helped to place this paintbrush on the canvas…The person in “Rockbottom” doesn’t have anything of his own. He works endless hours to earn a paycheck that isn’t enough money to support him. All of his life, he has been chasing success- but he never quite gets there. His child is born and he can barely afford diapers. Sometimes, he has to sacrifice his own meals so that his baby can eat. Rap music is the voice of the minority, and it needs to be heard.

Verse Three:

It would be disrespectful of me to the hip-hop community not to mention that Biggie and Tupac were two of the greatest hip-hop legends of all time.

 Ironically they were both shot and killed.

-Krystal Temple

22 thoughts on “Track One

  1. Suresh Ramdhanie

    I liked your piece, especially about the prejudices people make when they hear other people using slang. I know that I assume that those persons are not highly educated; like graduate level or doctorate students. I know this is ignorant of me but nevertheless I assume most doctors don’t use slang , at least not in public. I like that your piece questions our generalizations.

    I like your breakdown of rap’s dictionary definition. You explained quite well why “glibly” is an inappropriate word to describe the art form.

    I would leave out “Verse Three” from your piece, sure Biggie and Tupac were amazing but you never mentioned them prior in your essay and their sudden inclusion at the very end feels forced and arbitrary.
    But other than that! Kick butt!

    Reply
  2. Orhan Gokkaya

    You have a good point, you displayed both sides of the argument nicely. I didn’t find verse 3 to be useful. I think you should have kept it as it was without adding verse 3. I like how you walked us through your piece, for example by telling us how you went on dictionary.com and clicked on links. Also how you introduced the topic by stating, “I wanted to start this” your piece was very welcoming. The piece was assertive.

    Reply
  3. Kerel Cain

    Great ending. You start with saying that the definition of rap contradicts itself, then you begin your essay about rap being more than drugs and violence to only end it by saying that two of the greatest of all time were shot because of violence. You contradict yourself like people contradict rap music providing a sub text that reads that art isn’t easily define. And you sub-textually argue that it shouldn’t. Show don’t tell is followed persuasively in this piece.

    This is a general critique of the perception of rap music that is followed by an in-depth dissection of one rap artist and one of their songs. The dissection fights against the perception you laid out and explains your opinion.

    The structure is creative. Writing an essay on rap music that is structured like a song is a good choice. Similar to a song, each verse is its own topic on the same subject.

    I really enjoyed this piece. It was short but long enough. I believe the reason for that is by going in-depth it would make this piece a dissertation where you bring in example after example to prove your point, but that wasn’t needed because you did. Similar to a poem, or should I say rap song, you were able to make your point in a few words.

    Reply
  4. Vanessa

    I don’t know if you want to be asking if it’s wrong to switch between “language codes.” There is simply no law by which we can measure how wrong this is, simply societal standards, arguably that of the majority. Since this is the case, you might want to consider paring different groups in society against one another in arguing the case for using slang.

    The idea that “Rap music breaks convention” has much more potential to be expanded on. You might want to consider starting off with this paragraph, and linking all other paragraphs to support this one, for example, even that slang is a form of art and creativity, or of breaking out of oppression.

    I feel like many points in this short piece weren’t given enough attention to, and there are many good ones. The format is interesting as well. There are many short quips, but not enough supporting arguments. I’d really like to see this expanded.

    Reply
  5. Gabriela

    I liked that you started your piece with the versions to a tap song that exemplified what your piece was going to be about. The style that you chose to write in was a bit confusing because I didn’t understand what the point of it was. Even though I understood what your theme or main idea was in this critique, I felt like the ending was a little rush. I didn’t get a sense of closure. I did enjoy all of the definition you used because it showed your credibility as we’ll and proved that you were well informed of your topic. Expand more on the conclusion and your piece will be better.

    Reply
  6. David Castro

    you could replace slang with the word “ebonics” it would fit better in your piece and with what youre trying to say with the stigma that “slang” carries.

    and although i dont really think Eminem is the best example ( which is besides the point) you made your point nicely.

    picking a white rapper to prove a minority art form is pretty out there, but thats good.

    also i dont know why you just left off with Tupac and biggie, it felt like you just ending out of nowhere
    how do u just end after naming these legends?

    i love hiphop and there so much more to say about this art form
    its current state, where is it going, is it dead?

    rap vs hiphop
    commericial rap vs the underground

    you could talk about this for pages and pages, i just feel like u just scratched the surface

    but i really enjoyed this piece, now i no what im gonna write my next piece on haha

    Reply
  7. Deviniti Donnabella

    interesting piece. It was also formatted interestingly. The content of the piece and the voice of the narrator is valid yet perhaps you can draw readers in more by throwing out more facts to make your point valid. Not every rapper raps artistically. Rap is like poetry, like art, yet it is a bit harsh and violent. Is there a standard to rapping? Can a person rap less harshly? Could or would my track sell? Convince me of this art more. Why is it more artistic than harsh? Or is it?

    Reply
  8. Nadya Antoine

    I enjoyed this piece a lot in that it addressed many broad questions in relation to rap music.

    However its broadness is what similarly hindered the piece in many ways. Because you attempted
    to mention many questions in the space you allotted, as a reader, it seems like the piece flits from one
    topic to another. To strengthen the piece –and to avoid losing your reader– I think you should choose one topic as the focal point of your piece. Maybe “What happens when a minority group actually creates a form of art” in relation to Eminem (and others) and your thoughts on their music.

    Also, Is there any significance to the opening mention of your grandmother? To me, she served as the very misconceived crowd that doesn’t quite understand Rap music. If so, you should articulate this idea further.

    The ideas are all present to make a great memoir. As a reader, I find the piece quite credible on the subject. However elaboration and connections to your own life would make it great.

    Overall good piece.

    Reply
  9. Sergio Narine

    I found that the topic of the piece was thought provoking because it spoke about rap and how there is a misconception about its purpose in society. From the beginning of the essay I understood the theme, but I felt that it was obscured by the long commentary that was included in paragraph two. The voice of the character is very opinionated because the majority of the piece does not use a lot of concrete evidence to prove the narrator’s opinion. The narrator is revealed in the piece as someone who is concerned with rap music, but more importantly societies misunderstanding of rap. Likewise, I felt that the narrator did not support their opinion properly because they used a figure like Eminem, who was commercially successful to explain how rap is an art form; and this did not truly support their theme because Eminem is mostly portrayed as a pretentious individual by the media.

    I appreciated how the narrator used the form of a rap song/poem to structure this piece because it allows the reader to view this piece as an ode to rap. I felt that the references to Virginia Woolf, Tupac, and Biggie smalls could have possibly worked if the author did extensive research to find a common ideology amongst these individuals. But since there was no connection between the three, the writer incriminated their own piece. I would suggest that the writer use paragraph four to transition to a larger discussion that talks about slang vs. formal vernacular in literature. Overall, I liked the piece.

    Reply
  10. Julianne Reynoso

    I like that you’re decoding lyrics to a good song from a great artist. However, since you’re trying to define rap, maybe adding bad lyrics could have added to your point. I think it would have helped explain why people have negative views of rap and hip hop by showing the variety, the different types of artists with distinct styles and goals, some more lyrical than others. I have to agree with others that the last ‘verse’ was not necessary and I thought following your first line with your grandmother hating rap was a little awkwardly placed, but I liked the piece very much.

    Reply
  11. Diali Montalvo

    The subject you chose to write about was a good choice because ultimately music is compelling to everyone. I think that you did an amazing job with defining rap and the way you chose to introduce your piece but “Track One” seemed a bit hurried specifically at the end where you bring up Biggie and Tupac. It opened a whole new topic of discussion and took away from all you stated in your piece. You picked such a good topic yet you did little to persuade your reader and your argument became a bit opinionated rather than persuasive. I do hope you expand on this piece because it’s so interesting! I liked your style of writing and the particular lyrics you chose to elaborate on. Good first draft.

    Reply
  12. Alicia Camano

    Track one
    I liked your piece, I felt as if your piece was criticizing people misconception about rap. You are right rap has a certain connotation of what it portrays. I thought your piece was going to be longer because of the topic you had picked. Even though you added strong points I would have enjoyed if you added more information. If you would make this piece a little bit longer in order to prove your credibility it will be better. Other than that great job.

    Reply
  13. Josie

    I do not think you should begin your paper with the verse of a song. I do not agree with the love of rap that the writer has. I would like the writer to write more about why she likes rap so much. Eminem is not a good example of the writer’s point since he is white. The writer could express her point better.

    Reply
  14. Daniel Song

    I agree that rap is as valid a form of expression as any other. It’s nice to see someone else who feels this way too. Opening with the verse to demonstrate this is the perfect introduction, but I’m not sure about the ending. Personally, I don’t know how to feel about it. Do I like the fact that you mentioned Biggie and Tupac being shot and killed? Are you saying that they were good rappers who were destroyed because of haters? I do like some of their music, and I think they were very good rappers, but are they necessary for the piece? It feels like an out of the way tribute, and maybe that’s what it was, and while it doesn’t seem to fit the piece for me, I can see why this would likely be the most appropriate piece to pay the tribute to

    Reply
  15. Li Huang

    It’s nice that you wrote about music because it’s something most people in the world can relate to, though not particularly rap. I like how the verses divided the story into three segments. The first verse with the actual lyrics reminded me of a Star Wars episode prologue. I don’t know much about rap but I know that Biggie and Tupac were legends. Is it fit to compare Eminem to the rap giants? I think the author wrote the story because she was truly inspired by rap. She wants to incite in her readers that Eminem is classified as a minority through poverty, rather than the color of his skin.

    Reply
  16. Amilka Lopez

    I really how you defined the terms such as rap and glibly. I would suggest to maybe expand more on this paper it was hard for me to understand the bigger picture. Although I understand what you are trying to say I believe that its jumps from paragraph to paragraph. I wanted to see more clarity in a way.

    Reply
  17. Ruket Negasi

    I really liked that you started this piece with a verse and then structured the rest of the piece in verses. I enjoyed the content of this piece, however I wished you could have expanded it a bit more. Perhaps add facts about Biggie and Tupac and their significane in the rap culture. Additionally I think you can improve this piece by discussing more about the choice of words/slang words rappers use in their songs, how one rapper is different from another. Perhaps has much influence has the sociecnomic aspect of it changed the rap culture.

    Reply
  18. Joan Infante

    I enjoyed how the piece was broken down into parts, the same way a song is broken down into verses. The authors experience with rap can be easy to relate to and her explanation of what rap is not too broad but not too specific, which is a good thing. The one thing that definitely left a bad taste in mouth was the ending. I felt that there was no need for the author to mention Tupac or Notorious BIG. Yes, they may be examples of critically loved rap artists, but their reference was very much out of left field. It had nothing to do with Eminem.

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  19. síntomas y causas

    Además, las inyecciones pueden causar una erección dolorosa y persistente (priapismo). Sin embargo, la sexualidad no tiene fecha de caducidad. Recuérdele que la disfunción eréctil es frecuente, dígale que no es necesariamente verdad que el problema está sólo en su cabeza y finalmente recuérdele que la disfunción eréctil se puede tratar.

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