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THE RAPPING ICONOCLAST: BROWN SUPPLEMENT (INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCE)


Mick 3 / 14  
Dec 30, 2010   #1
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!

miss_anthropic 4 / 6  
Dec 30, 2010   #2
What was the prompt, exactly?

I don't think it needs a title--at least I hope none of them need titles, because I'm not giving titles to any of mine.

The prompt doesn't need to be in the document, I think Brown will know its own prompt.

"I, the Pakistani boy, the "quiet smart kid", stood center stage for everyone to see ." There's your two (actually four) words.

"To me, rap is a birthmark, a scar, a scintillating banner of individuality I hold above society." While I'm a fan of the word "scintillating," I'm not sure if I've ever seen a scintillating banner. It's not that big of a deal though.

Other than that, this is absolutely fantastic.
OP Mick 3 / 14  
Dec 31, 2010   #3
The prompt was "Tell us about an intellectual experience, project, class, or book that has influenced or inspired you." I was worried because I don't know if rapping is an "intellectual experience".
etaang 4 / 40  
Dec 31, 2010   #4
It's a bit of a stretch, but I think your essay is good enough that you won't have to worry about missing the prompt. The last few lines in your introduction were ridiculously good.
OP Mick 3 / 14  
Dec 31, 2010   #5
Thanks for looking it over guys. Anyone else want to take a shot? I'm probably going to send this out soon and want to have at least 3 people look it over.
essceejay216 4 / 51  
Dec 31, 2010   #6
I think the essay is pretty awesome. I love the concept. I don't know if it answers the prompt. I mean, it is an experience and kind of like a project, but not. You could probably get by with it though. Whatever the case, you will stand out in a good way.

Good luck!

Read mine?
thedarktiger 1 / 9  
Dec 31, 2010   #7
I did indeed enjoy reading this essay. You made freestyle rapping - something I too enjoy - seem more important than the stereotypical thought and showed how it was the bridge between two cultures.

Doesn't need a title, doesn't need to be cut down.

You made rapping seem like an intellectual experience, so in that essence it was good.

I say send it and take the risk.

Also please give me an opinion on my essay too
livedreamfly3 3 / 30  
Dec 31, 2010   #8
wow, definitely enjoyed the approach. :)
I think it fits the supplement (i'm applying to brown, as well!)
it's very unique and a huge refresher.
congrats on a good essay!

***PLEASE EDIT MY COMMON APP!
GOODLUCK!
OP Mick 3 / 14  
Dec 31, 2010   #9
Thanks everyone for the comments. One more question. For anyone applying to Cornell, do you think if I reworked this essay a bit, it could fit in for Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences essay??
ekim226 5 / 29  
Dec 31, 2010   #10
This is really good. You're definitely good with words. And I think you clearly showed how rapping is an intellectual experience for you. I would give you advice, but there isn't much that strikes me as awkward or anything. Good job and good luck!

I'm applying to Brown as well; if you have time, I'd really appreciate your feedback for my Brown supplement. Thanks!


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