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      <title>Rhyming to Popularity</title>
            <!--deidentified element--></author>
      <date>October 7th, 2016</date>
        <p>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.</genre> 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.</argument></p>
      <bodyPara>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.</sim><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.</context> 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).</diff> 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</evidence>; 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.</diff> 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.</diff> 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.</setting> 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><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.</evidence></bodyPara>
        <p>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.
      <title>Works Cited</title>
        <bibl xml:id="Connor">Connor, Martin. "Rapper's Flow Encyclopedia - Earl
                    Sweatshirt." Genius. Genius Media Group Inc., n.d. Web. Oct. 2016.</bibl>
        <bibl xml:id="Ballard">Ballard, Mary E., Doris G. Bazzini, and Alan R. Dodson.
                    "Genre of Music and Lyrical Content: Expectation Effects." Taylor ampersand
                    Francis, Dec. 1999. Web. Oct. 2016.</bibl>
        <bibl xml:id="Wyner">Wyner, Andrew I. "How Hip-Hop Flourished in America." The
                    Harvard Crimson. The Harvard Crimson, Inc., 29 Apr. 2014. Web. Oct. 2016.</bibl>


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