Archive | October, 2011

The Soundtrack to Your Project

27 Oct

We listened to some artists today that use their music as a form of activism. Now, I challenge you to do the same. You have two options:

  1. Create a 6+ song soundtrack to your topic. Write an explanation for your decisions. Why did you choose each song? Why did you put them in the order that you have put them in?
  2. Find a song that already exists and rewrite the lyrics to match your topic You don’t have to keep any of the original lyrics. You may also choose an instrumental song. The idea is to have a rhythm to work with and to think about tone. Do you want a happy song? A sad song? An angry song? A slow song? A fast song? Which best conveys your message?

Music: Eminem’s “Like Toy Soldiers”

26 Oct


Step by step, heart to heart, left right left

We all fall down…



Step by step, heart to heart, left right left

We all fall down like toy soldiers

Bit by bit, torn apart, we never win

But the battle wages on for toy soldiers


[Verse 1]

I’m supposed to be the soldier who never blows his composure

Even though I hold the weight of the whole world on my shoulders

I ain’t never supposed to show it, my crew ain’t supposed to know it

Even if it means goin’ toe to toe with a Benzino it don’t matter

I’d never drag them in battles that I can handle unless I absolutely have to

I’m supposed to set an example

I need to be the leader, my crew looks for me to guide ’em

If some shit ever does pop off, I’m supposed to be beside ’em

That Ja shit I tried to squash it, it was too late to stop it

There’s a certain line you just don’t cross and he crossed it

I heard him say Hailie’s name on a song and I just lost it

It was crazy, this shit went way beyond some Jay-z and Nas shit

And even though the battle was won, I feel like we lost it

I spent too much energy on it, honestly I’m exhausted

And I’m so caught in it I almost feel I’m the one who caused it

This ain’t what I’m in hip-hop for, it’s not why I got in it

That was never my object for someone to get killed

Why would I wanna destroy something I help build

It wasn’t my intentions, my intentions was good

I went through my whole career without ever mentionin’ Suge

And that was just out of respect for not runnin’ my mouth

And talkin’ about something that I knew nothing about

Plus Dre told me stay out, this just wasn’t my beef

So I did, I just fell back, watched and gritted my teeth

While he’s all over t.v. down talkin’ a man who literally saved my life

Like fuck it i understand this is business

And this shit just isn’t none of my business

But still knowin’ this shit could pop off at any minute cause




[Verse 2]

There used to be a time when you could just say a rhyme

And wouldn’t have to worry about one of your people dyin’

But now it’s elevated cause once you put someone’s kids in it

The shit gets escalated, it ain’t just words no more is it?

It’s a different ball game, callin’ names and you ain’t just rappin’

We actually tried to stop the 50 and Ja beef from happenin’

Me and Dre had sat with him, kicked it and had a chat with him

And asked him not to start it he wasn’t gonna go after him

Until Ja started yappin’ in magazines how we stabbed him

Fuck it 50 smash ’em, mash ’em and let him have it

Meanwhile my attention is pullin’ in other directions

Some receptionist at The Source who answers phones at his desk

Has an erection for me and thinks that I’ll be his resurrection

Tries to blow the dust off his mic and make a new record

But now he’s fucked the game up cause one of the ways I came up

Was through that publication the same one that made me famous

Now the owner of it has got a grudge against me for nothin’

Well fuck it, that motherfucker can get it too, fuck him then

But I’m so busy being pissed off I don’t stop to think

That we just inherited 50’s beef with Murder Inc.

And he’s inherited mine which is fine ain’t like either of us mind

We still have soldiers that’s on the front line

That’s willing to die for us as soon as we give the orders

Never to extort us, strictly to show they support us

We’ll maybe shout ’em out in a rap or up in a chorus

To show them we love ’em back and let ’em know how important it is

To have Runyan Avenue, soldiers up in our corners

Their loyalty to us is worth more than any award is

But I ain’t tryna have none of my people hurt and murdered

It ain’t worth it, I can’t think of a perfecter way to word it

Then to just say that I love ya’ll too much to see the verdict

I’ll walk away from it all before I let it go any further

But don’t get it twisted, it’s not a plea that I’m coppin’

I’m just willin’ to be the bigger man

If ya’ll can quit poppin’ off at the jaws, well then I can

Cause frankly I’m sick of talkin’

I’m not gonna let someone else’s coffin rest on my conscience cause

Music: Linkin Park’s “Hands Held High”

26 Oct


Turn my mic up louder I got to say something

Light weights step to the side when we come in

Feel it in your chest the syllables get pumping

People on the street they panic and start running

Words on loose leaf sheet complete coming

I jump in my mind and summon the rhyme, I’m dumping

Healing the blind I promise to let the sun in

Sick of the dark ways we march to the drum and

Jump when they tell us that they wanna see jumping

Fuck that I wanna see some fists pumping

Risk something, take back what’s yours

Say something that you know they might attack you for

Cause I’m sick of being treated like I have before

Like it’s stupid standing for what I’m standing for

Like this war’s really just a different brand of war

Like it doesn’t cater the rich and abandon poor

Like they understand you in the back of the jet

When you can’t put gas in your tank

These fuckers are laughing their way to the bank and cashing the cheque

Asking you to have compassion and have some respect

For a leader so nervous in an obvious way

Stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay

And the rest of the world watching at the end of the day

In their living room laughing like “what did he say?”







In my living room watching but I am not laughing

Cause when it gets tense I know what might happen

World is cold the bold men take action

Have to react or get blown into fractions

Ten years old it’s something to see

Another kid my age drugged under a jeep

Taken and bound and found later under a tree

I wonder if he had thought the next one could be me

Do you see the soldiers they’re out today

They brush the dust from bullet proof vests away

It’s ironic at times like this you pray

But a bomb blew the mosque up yesterday

There’s bombs in the buses, bikes, roads

Inside your market, your shops, your clothes

My dad he’s got a lot of fear I know

But enough pride inside not to let that show

My brother had a book he would hold with pride

A little red cover with a broken spine

On the back, he hand-wrote a quote inside

When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die

Meanwhile, the leader just talks away

Stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay

And the rest of the world watching at the end of the day

both scared and angry like “what did he say?”

[Chorus x6]


With hands held high into the sky so blue,

As the ocean opens up to swallow you.

Music: Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”

26 Oct

Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”


Southern trees bear a strange fruit

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root

Black body swinging in the southern breeze

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant south

The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth

Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh

And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck

For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck

For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop

Here is a strange and bitter crop.

— Music and lyrics by Lewis Allan, copyright 1940


Rhetorical Analysis– or how do people talk about stuff?

26 Oct

Step one: Find an article that supports your stance on the topic that you have chosen for your Writing as Activism project. Write the correct MLA style citation for it.

Step two: Find an article that challenges your stance. Write the correct MLA style citation for it.

Step three: Here’s where it gets serious…. Without passing judgment on the content of the article, explain how the article that challenges your stance creates an argument.

  • What types of language do they use?
  • What is the tone of the piece?
  • What form do they choose?
  • Does the piece make use of any of the elements of Aristotle’s three categories of rhetoric?
  • Is the argument or pieces of the argument effective (regardless of whether you agree with the opinion)? Why, or why not?

Step four: Looking at both articles, think about how they talk about the issue. What are the similarities between the two arguments? What does it say about how people articulate their thoughts on this particular issue in a public space?

Step five: Again, looking at both articles, compile a wordbank of key terms. What is the jargon of this issue? What are the common themes/interests/sources?


This may not be the only time in your life that you will be asked to do a rhetorical analysis, and while practicing here will help you and give you some insight into the ways that people construct arguments, it isn’t always easy to do.

Here is a great resource for thinking about rhetorical analysis:

This source speaks more about Aristotle’s three modes of persuasion:

This source speaks about logical fallacies or faulty evidence/arguments:









The It’s-Who-You-Know Workshop

20 Oct

At the beginning of the semester, I had every one make a Twitter account. In the beginning, you were simply using them to ask discussion questions and make commentary on your readings, but Twitter has a bigger purpose than just telling the world what you’re doing. Twitter is a great way to build a constant feed of information on the subject you are interested in. For class purposes, this translates into easy-to-find research.

What I would like everyone to do is come up with some key words to define your projects (bullying, taxes, ecofriendly, etc.). Then you should use those key words to search through Twitter’s follows. Your goal is to find FIVE tweeters to follow, who tweet about your subject area. Don’t just pick the first five people who come up, or you may be disappointed with the results. Take your time and read through some of their tweets, look at how often they participate. Are they sharing links to resources? Are they an expert in the field or just another interested party?

After you find those five people, I would like you to pick your top three. Mention them in a tweet using @theirname and include our #np555 hashtag. In this tweet, you should pose a question for the tweeter that you feel she or he would be able to answer. Hopefully, you will receive a response that will help you with your project.




Some after-thoughts:

  • Use hashtags to help you find people and information.
  • Search the followers and the following sections of organizations and other tweeters that interest you. For example, you will most likely find animal rights activists following PETA.
  • Have a good mix of big organizations and individuals for the best results. Individuals are most likely to interact with you, but big organizations produce research and other networking capabilities.
  • Tweet with your classmates if you can help them/are interested in their topic/have something to share.

Class Notes from 10/19

19 Oct

Things that made an essay interesting:

Looking at things in a new way/A fresh perspective
Don’t sound monotone, Sound conversational


How to embody a role:

What they do/what they’re interested in
Language— Vocabulary, Rhythm of speech
Style—formal vs. informal

How to interest an audience:

Interests and concerns
Respect your audience
Concepts and ideas – what would they know?
Connecting/being relatable
Thinking about how much you need to explain something/how in-depth you need to be
Examples and quotes