Hip Hop

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

“Understand the meaning of MC. The power to Move the Crowd like Moses splits the seas.” Remembering the lyrics of Talib Kweli, my favorite rapper, I rapped, surrounded by a small crowd on the streets. As I stole glimpses of teens in their oversized sweaters and baggy jeans throwing their hands in the air and swaying them left and right, I felt as if I were a talented rapper – a real MC.

“Hip hop is for African Americans,” retorted my English literature teacher after overhearing my views on rhymes in rap music. He argued that a middle class Asian girl’s mimicking an African American rapper’s style and lyrics wouldn’t make her an authentic artist. Though I wanted to fight back, I found myself unable to offer a counter argument.

That night, I sent an e-mail to Vanessa Diaz, the director of the Cuban hip hop documentary, Desde el Principio, which had mesmerized me only a few nights ago, explaining what had happened during that class – and the problems of expressing myself through hip hop. Through her lengthy reply that arrived after many days, I learned that the Cubans and African Americans had gone through similar predicaments – poverty and oppression – and thus adopted similar music as a means of expressing their sufferings....

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