Markup in the Writing Classroom

Genre: essay

Student id: we.sp

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  • scene: indicates a scene, a place where rhetorical interaction occurs in order to accomplish shared objective(s)
  • genre: indicates a genre; a way of responding to a situation that repeats itself within a scene
  • situation: indicates the rhetorical interactions happening within a scene, involving participants, subjects, settings and purposes [can include participants and settings tags]
  • participants: indicates participants, the entities that are involved and active in a scene [can appear inside the situation tag]
  • setting: indicates the location and surroundings in which a scene takes place [can appear inside the situation tag]
  • context: indicates information provided to better understand a claim, argument, or idea. Typically precedes an idea, claim or argument that warrant background info
  • aesthetics: indicates aesthetic elements of a composition, including pictures, font styles, colors, other material properties, etc.
  • sim: (similarities) indicates text that points to similarities between two or more texts [can optionally contain any other essay content elements]
  • diff: (differences) indicates text that points to differences between two or more texts [can optionally contain any other essay content elements]
  • argument: (interpretive claim/argument) indicates a claim/argument made based on evidence presented or to be presented in an essay [requires @type attribute, values of 'main,' 'supporting,' or 'opposing']
  • evidence: (evidence) indicates evidence in support of a claim or argument
  • pattern: (generic pattern) indicates an identifiable trait, characteristic, and/or example of a pattern within a genre [requires @type attribute of user-defined value]

Rhyming to Popularity


There are two types of listeners when its comes to rap music. There are those who strictly care about the melody, beat, and flow of the music, and those who pay closer attention to the lyrics and message of the music. For a long time, I found myself as being the former type of listener, glazing over the lyrics as I knew the words, but never considering the content. However, I recently started paying attention to the message, and sometimes the idea is simple and self-promoting, but sometimes it isn't. Often times artists have the ability tell a story that can draw you in just as much as the melody and beat itself. Because of this, the most successful artists are ones that can combine both a powerful or relatable message with an enticing beat. [genre: The hip hop/rap genre is unique in that there is no specific route that rappers will take to become a rapper. Rappers are not often born following an engineering degree. Because of this, much of the style of rap is based on era and what is taken up over decades.] There is successful and unsuccessful rap music from all sub-genres of rap, but generally we are only exposed to those who were the most successful in targeting what people wanted to hear. [argument (type = main): Thus we can observe how hip hop scene has shifted in recent years, and from this, make claims about how hip hop fits in the grander scheme of music as a cultural element.]


When thinking of early influential rap artists, two groups immediately come to mind: N.W.A. and the Wu-Tang Clan. [sim: These two groups released two of the most popular albums of the late 80's/early 90's: "Straight Outta Compton" (1988) and "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)" (1993). These two groups also possessed a quality that is not often seen in the spotlight today: they were groups. They were groups of individual talent that shared both a common background and a common goal.] [diff: N.W.A. set out primarily to send a message, while the Wu-Tang Clan set out to establish themselves as the best, combining progressive beats, dark humor and inventive sounds. Because of this, the groups became popular for drastically different reasons. N.W.A.'s message was anti-establishment and worked to fight police racism, specifically in areas closer to the members' homes. [context: At the time of release, the message was extremely relevant, and their local popularity soared, allowing them to spread propaganda through their music.] However, as time passed and the culture shifted, along with other extenuating circumstances, the group disbanded. They didn't have a sustainable game plan. After N.W.A was around the time that rap music became a genre of music that appealed to a larger audience outside strictly African-American culture (as evidenced by the fact that I am a white male writing this essay). The Wu-Tang Clan arose from the ashes of N.W.A to bump beats and bash heads (or at least rap about doing so).] They took over the market that was now well established. They developed a sound that became recognizable very quickly. It was music that all fans of rap music could enjoy whether they agreed with what was being said or not. For this reason they have maintained a presence in rap culture as a group, [evidence: making releases even over 21 years later such as "A Better Tomorrow" released in 2014] ; the beats don't lose relevance like content does. [diff: However, solo work has almost completely taken over group hip hop in today's culture, as with the rise of media and broadcasting, solo work is much more fruitful.] It's much easier to present yourself as a solo artist in terms of interviews, awards, putting on shows, and even just giving listeners one person to listen to and one face to look at. [diff: The idea of a relatable message garnering popularity quickly still exists, but in a different way.] A perfect example of a solo artist who has gained massive popularity recently is Drake. [setting: Drake has helped to integrate hip hop music into America's music culture instead of hip hop being primarily culturally African- American.] Drake captures such a large audience because the content of his music targets such a wide array of people. [evidence: Much of Drake's music is about relationship problems, insecurities, and social media, all things that listeners can relate to without much difficulty. Now exists behind the scenes employees working day in, day out crafting beats and melodies that will be stuck in listener's ears. This, the content, and showmanship all wrapped up in one package gives consumers almost the ideal pop/rap icon. This is evident when considering that Drake's most recent album "Views" spent over 12 weeks topping the Billboard 200 Chart.] [evidence: With a transforming culture shifting towards a greater appreciation of rap music, it's no wonder that the 2015 movie named after N.W.A's biggest hit "Straight Outta Compton" was such a hit. This movie was also influential in re-demonstrating the value of spreading messages through rap, using the N.W.A.'s formation and destruction as one of the most significant examples of the power of music.]


Rap music has been culturally significant for decades now, and it’s fairly easy to point fingers at who to thank. The N.W.A. and Wu-Tang Clan truly paved the way to influence rap music in a way that other artists couldn’t. We can see how artists have drawn inspiration from the achievements of these groups, and the changing appreciation of rap music in American culture has allowed a greater flourishing of rap music today. Successful rap music has been shown to be music that can catch your ear, make you bob your head, and also offer something a little more for those who care to delve deeper into the content of the music.

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