The Rapping Iconoclast
Yips and yells, ruckus and racket; noise surged through the ring of teenagers standing outside the school. Garbed in heavy hoods and doubtful countenances, they formed an audience around the quiet Pakistani boy. A "Shh!" quelled the tumult. No one knew what to expect. I, the Pakistani boy, the "quiet smart kid", stood center stage for everyone to see. I cleared my throat and said "Drop the beat". Someone near me clasped a fist to their mouth and began to beatbox. My head bobbed, my feet tapped. I allowed myself to flow through the beat like a raft down a river. I spit a fire so heated, lit up the entire street, electrified the beat. I refused to accept defeat, refused to be let torn. I transformed from something diffident to a completely different storm.
Freestyle rapping isn't something I ever expected to do. Raised in a traditional Muslim American family, the art of rap was hardly a concern of my parents. However, I had grown up in a neighborhood where the sounds of characteristically "black" music radiated from the street gravel. I began rapping at age eleven, memorizing lyrics in the shower and before I went to sleep. Rap became a ritualistic pastime. Before I knew it, I began "spitting rhymes" without any preparation. I was an oddity, a paradox: the scrawny bookworm who spoke little but rapped a lot. I became an unlikely bridge between two groups. In meek study groups I was one person, and amongst the tough crew I was another. I wield the art of rap in a different hand than most do. Rap is a branch of poetry, a medium through which I can release aggression and stress without raising a fist. I refrain from using profanity, but the tough spirit which accompanies the culture remains in my lyrics. Rap relates to my passion for crafting words and stories. It is an instrument through which I try to understand those I'm different from. It is a tool on which I can sharpen my mind, train myself to focus and think quicker. To me, rap is a birthmark, a scar, a scintillating banner of individuality I hold above society. The banner reads "I am a Muslim, I am an American, and I am more."
My affinity for hip-hop is a hobby, yes, but I've come to appreciate my strange knack for wordplay primarily because it does not suit me. I proudly choose to debunk the caricatures which define some members of our society. Diversity is my weapon of choice when it comes to shattering stereotypes. Rap doesn't have to be typified by greed, drugs and disrespect toward women. It can provide for insightful social commentary, if given the chance. To use words to destroy the barriers which clutter our society, that is why I continue to rap: to fit in and to stick out, to understand while changing understanding. One word rings loud and clear through the beat my heart bumps to: Iconoclast.
I'd really like a critique of this: structural, grammatical, topical, etc. I also have a few questions I need answered:
- Do you think the essay answers the prompt?
- Does the essay need a title?
- When I send the actual document, does the prompt need to be IN the actual document?
- The word limit is 500 words, and I'm just under that by two words. Any ideas on how to cut down?
I think I took a risk with this essay and would really like a critique. Thank you!