General Studies “United States of Rap”
Major Essay Prompt
Length: 3-4 pages, double-spaced
Format: Follow MLA Guidelines (See Canvas-Modules-Week 4 for MLA info)
Due: Check your syllabus for due dates! This will be the first draft of your major essay. I will provide you feedback on this draft and then you will revise to make your essay stronger. In your second revision you will include additional research to support your argument. Please consult the syllabus for all submission deadlines.
Topic: So far this quarter we have evaluated the notion of identity and authenticity! What makes you, you? Why is that important? In relationship to rap music, what makes rap authentic or inauthentic based on the artists gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, geographic location, socioeconomic status? Who decides this?
Richard Jenkins states that “Many of us, much of the time, are able to take identity for granted.” Is this true of your favorite rap artist? For this essay, I want you to enter into this academic conversation and engage this important debate.
As such your essay needs to put forth and develop an argument addressing the following question:
Many rap artists participate in authenticity by “keepin’ it real” based on their gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, geographic location, socioeconomic status. Kembrew McLeod call this, “a fundamental component of portraying oneself as authentic.” Think of your favorite rapper. Would you argue that this person is authentic based on McLeod’s semantic dimensions of authenticity? Why or why not? Use the lyrics from your favorite rap artist to support your position. Regardless of your perspective, be sure to explain why this is the case and ground your argument in evidence.
What kind of evidence? The first draft of the essay needs to cite only relevant information from the Kembrew McLeod article “Authenticity Within Hip-Hop and Other Cultures Threatened with Assimilation” and the lyrics from your favorite rap artist as well as any additional information from Richard Jenkins’ chapter “Identity Matters”.
No additional research should be used for this first draft
The social identity article only need the first chapter: Identity Matters