Hello, I wrote this paper for my Expository Writing last semester and thought I'd share. Among all the music I discuss, this essay specifically talks of how Tech N9Ne has influenced my life. Enjoy!



<p align="center">Strange Music Box[/p]

Being white - I've been doing it for as long as I can remember, but being white has never posed such a problem as with the music society dictates I can and cannot listen to. Ever since I could stream MySpace, I have been a big fan of music of all genres, and music has always had a very large influence on my personality and life. Everything from Coldplay to N.W.A., Angels &amp; Airwaves to B.o.B (aka Bobby Ray), and Beyoncé to Fear Before The March of Flames have populated my mp3 player at one point or another, and I've never let anyone dictate what I should or should not listen to (with the exception of my parents on occasion). Such indiscretion directly relates to the rap and hip-hop that populate my music library. You see, I reached my peak enjoyment of gangster rap at a very young age, much to the disdain of my parents (see: "Forgot About Dre," which my dad unwittingly downloaded for me). In an effort to prevent me from leading a very sheltered life and suffering from culture shock in public school, my parents essentially let me listen to whatever I wanted. Right up until the day "Fuck you too, bitch. Call the cops, I'ma kill you and them loud-ass muthafuckin' barkin' dogs" echoed from my headphones. I think I may still be banned from listening to Dr. Dre. Via the rap music in which coarse language is such a prevailing characteristic, profanity became a part of my everyday life. It was common to use "fuck" in normal conversation (fuck, motherfucking, fucker - the possibilities are endless), so one would think that these words have lost their taboo. Not so, I tell you. Just as it still startles you to read "fuck," it startles me to write it. I'm still reluctant to use such terms (I know, it doesn't seem like it) because sure, this is college, but there are still standards, right? This is something I have struggled with for much of my life. "There's a time and a place" they'd say, but it used to be all the same to me. Though the prominent use of such words in rap music has added to their influence in my life, I heard the terms used equally as much in the halls of my public high school. As I've matured, I've realized that it's not cool to use such vulgar language, but I believe the terms should not be ignored either. I consider music lyrics a form of literature, and there is still a great debate wherein many advocate the presentation of literature in its uncensored state for the sake of its cultural and educational value (i.e. Mark Twain's use of the term "nigger" in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn). The literature just wouldn't be true to life if it was censored, and certain aspects of culture could be lost entirely if not preserved via such literature. Therefore, I side with the many who believe that such use of profanity accurately reflects American culture, and thus the terms should be left uninhibited, no matter how controversial. Between 2nd and 8th grade, Linkin Park (who don't cuss near as much as my earlier music choices) was my gateway drug to both angrier music and hippier hop, until at the beginning of 11th grade I fell into a more stereotypical white teenage male model. I found myself buying skinny jeans, straightening my hair, and looking to emo-rockers My Chemical Romance for emotional relief. Though their Black Parade album had been sitting on my shelf since 2006, it hadn't received such massive rotation in my iTunes before. A rock opera centering on the death of main character "The Patient," My Chemical Romance took on an entirely new persona to promote the album. Clad in entirely black and white, singer Gerard Way accented the outfit by bleaching his hair. Way sold the look well, quite literally to me, as I resolved to imitate the act and pay to have my hair bleached. I'd been around the block already, having bleached my hair once before at home in the 7th grade. In light of the experience, I chose to have it professionally done at a salon this time. I also determined that black eyebrows may look a bit weird with blonde hair, so I resolved that I would have my eyebrows bleached as well. I didn't realize that black eyebrows would have looked better than no eyebrows. You see, the blonde essentially blended in with my face. I returned to my Chemistry full of confidence the next morning and, much to my contempt, met a wall of mockery 6 feet high and 20 feet wide (that is, most of my ). I decided that wearing sunglasses the rest of the day would be a reasonable solution, but my brilliant protective shades idea was met with a simple request/chant: "Take them off! Take them off!" Not even my teacher was innocent of ridicule. The scorn would have been unbearable had it not been for the overwhelming sense that I was better, smarter than these kids. Had I not been the butt of the joke, and if I had the opportunity to make fun of the dork without eyebrows myself, I would've been full of witty one-liners (i.e.: "So, you lost the bet then?" or "Don't worry. We can sue.") All they could do was laugh. Such a "don't let ridicule get to you" attitude, which I developed from the incident, has been vital to the success of my many extracurricular projects, such as taping YouTube comedy shorts, writing a comedy blog, and more. Had I not been hardened to criticism in my younger years, my ambition may have suffered greatly thanks to popular opinion. These projects have brought me much pleasure in life, as sharing my humor with others has always been an aspiration of mine that I believe I've done a great job at continuing to achieve (see: this paper). A few months after the "butterscotch" fiasco (clever nickname, huh?) I discovered Tech N9NE, an independent rapper extraordinaire fresh out of Kansas City, Missouri. If I had never been allowed to broaden my musical horizons and embrace all cultures, races, and walks of life, I would've never discovered K.O.D. The dark themes of Tech N9NE's K.O.D. (King of Darkness) album spoke to me in a time of emotional distress, as I was full of the standard teen angst and depression. He helped me to sort of embrace the darkness that I believe resides deep within us all. In doing so, admitting it's there, I believe it allows the light inside us to shine that much brighter. Such is the reason why I believe I've been a happier person in general since being exposed to the album. But my love for Tech has not been without its share of race-related trouble. I exhausted my phone contacts trying to find a friend or acquaintance - hell, I would've taken my mom - to go see Tech N9NE live with me. Sadly, even she said no. You see, many people assume that just because he's a black rapper, his whole audience must be saggy-panted angry African Americans, so they said no, because we would be a part of the minority of innocent white people, right? Not so! A quick survey of any live performance on YouTube yields quite a different perspective, but more importantly is a true survey of the fans, whom have a deeper connection with the music than just the standard "bitches and hos" many rappers speak of. And still I've been denied the experience of a potentially life-changing live performance, because many white people aren't comfortable experiencing something as foreign as a rap show. This saddens me, and I hope to one day find a fellow fan that will travel with me, but I will traverse inner-city Kansas City alone if I must. Today, I pride myself in finding great new bands first and spend a large amount of my time searching YouTube and MySpace for the "next big thing." Keeping up with new music requires me to look past race when choosing an artist to listen to. When searching, I hold no preconceived notions about the quality of music different cultures of people will produce. It simply doesn't make any difference who made the music. Take white electrorappers 3OH!3 for example, with such lyrics as "shush girl, shut your lips, do the Helen Keller, and talk with your hips." Thanks to a seemingly unknown invention, satellite radio, I was introduced to the rap duo literally months before they made it mainstream. I tried, I really, really did, to spread the word, but all I got was the ic "yeah whatever"s, the "did I say you could talk to me?"s, and the "this is crap"s. But then, sure enough, three months later: "Hey, have you heard that Helen Keller band?" Yeah, as a matter of fact, I fucking have heard of 3OH!3. This is just the cursed life of the American hipster (though I have heard of many other similar cases of such audio-anxiety). For example, take this 2007 conversation between fellow-hipster William Johnson and I:


Me: "Hey have you heard of this Coldplay band? Their song 'Clocks' is sick." William: "You think you know everything about music before anyone else, but I am the true master of music knowledge. Have I ever heard of Coldplay?... Yeah, guess who heard them in a tiny dive bar in London? I might have been seven years old at the time, but I knew, without a doubt, that they would blow up into the international superstars they are today." Me: "Wow, douche."


But I believe that due to my complete lack of requirements when trying new artists, and by not discriminating against artists of other races, I am more successful at finding that next big thing before anyone else. Thankfully, freedom of expression in all aspects runs rampant among the sidewalks of K-State and no one really judges me (to my face at least). If I want to wear a cowboy vest, wield a Jesus-tipped staff and call my fellow mates "whores," I can. If I want to dress up like a superhero with long, brown locks, call myself "Eco-Kat" and "promote" recycling, I can. If I want to host a radio show on Friday nights where I play the music I like, make the comments I think and serenade the listeners I adore, I can. And so I do. My radio show is a place for me to project the music positively influencing my life at the time to others who may benefit from it as well. I feel like by choosing not to discriminate music based on an artist's race, I can truly appreciate and offer the best new music. Friday nights at 11 or midnight or whatever they change the time to next are a brief view through the window of my soul - at my feelings the past week, at the anxiety, astonishment, anguish, euphoria, hostility, compassion, tolerance and understanding that is my life. And so, to quote the great African American western philosopher Beyoncé, "I think I'm in love with my radio, 'Cause it never lets me down[.] And I fall in love with my stereo Whenever I hear that sound[.]"