Topic: Hanif Abdurraqib Music assignment

Purpose & Goals:

The purpose of this assignment is two-fold: 1) As always, to work on our writing and critical reading skills; 2) To locate and critically evaluate appropriate source material to support an arguable thesis. By the end of this paper, you will have practiced all aspects of the writing process – including prewriting, research, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading.

Assignment Overview:

Hanif Abdurraqib utilizes music as a gateway to write about the human experience and touch on timely, real-world topics regarding a number of social, cultural, and political issues. For this assignment, you will practice his approach in a research-based paper of your own. You will analyze 1-2 albums of your choice for their cultural, social, or political significance.

To prepare for writing this paper, we will examine the following essays assigned in Unit 3:

 “Rumours And The Currency Of Heartbreak” (165-171), “February 26, 2012” (177-183), “On Kindness” (184-187), “In the Summer of 1997…” (188-193), “Nina Simone…”
 (194-198) “Blood Summer, In Three Parts” (199-209), “Fear in Two Winters” (212-219), & “On Paris” (220-225), “My First Police Stop” (226-231)
 “They Will Speak Loudest…” (238-243), “Johnny Cash…” (244-251) “The Obama Whitehouse…” (252-257), “The White Rapper Joke” (258-269)

As we examine these readings, we will look at how Abdurraqib explores his topics by finding what he says specifically about them—“race”, “class”, “love”, “grief” are all too broad. How does he narrow his approach, incorporate research, and explore why the topic matters?


  1. Format: Write a 5-6 page paper –5 full pages minimum—on the assignment described above. The rough and final drafts must be typed, double-spaced, have standard one-inch margins, and be in 12-point Times New Roman font. Paper format (including in-text citations) should follow MLA style. You are required to attach a “Works Cited” page at the end of your paper. Keep in mind your Works Cited page is not included as part of the page count. Include citations for all of your sources.
  2. Research & Required Sources: Conduct research on the album, artist, and the topics in the music by using the following required sources in your paper:

 Songs from the album(s): You will analyze lyrics from 3-6 of your chosen musician’s songs to show how they speak to your chosen topic

 Music Review(s): You will incorporate 1-3 reviews of your chosen album(s) from a reputable source (such as Rolling Stone magazine) on the music and the artist’s performances, shows, and/or music videos, to support your analysis of the topic

 Database Articles: You will incorporate 2-4 academic articles from the COC library database to support your analysis on your chosen topic. When you conduct research off campus, you’ll need to use your CanyonsID credentials to access the databases.

 One Search Database Access: You will need to access One Search for your database articles. There is a tutorial for you in Commons via Canvas. Although the name says, Professor Angelino, it is for all student in English 101. Visit Modules via Canvas for information on how to search for database articles in an amazing tutorial put together by Sara Breshears, one of our librarians. You can also Ask a Librarian for help.

 Abdurraqib: Optional, but encouraged: If you find that any of Abdurraqib’s essays we have read this semester speak to your topic, or if any of his essays are about a musician/album/song you feel strongly about, you are welcome to incorporate They Can’t Kill Us as a source as well.

  1. Use your introduction to provide helpful background information on your chosen topic and album. Envision your reader as a fellow fan of the music you will be writing about; however, your reader has not read any of the articles or conducted any of the research on the cultural, social, or political significance of the music like you have; therefore, you must establish the context of your sources and how they help show the significance of your topic. End your intro with a thesis statement that responds directly to the assignment prompt by answering: What is the cultural, or social, or political significance of your chosen album? (*Use the Intro paragraph instructions from Papers 1 & 2—make sure to include a Hook, Background Info, and Thesis)
  2. In your body paragraphs, use an effective structure that carefully guides the reader from one idea to the next; each idea should incorporate your research and support your thesis. (*Use the body paragraph instructions from Papers 1 &2; include the following structure—Topic Sentence, TS Development, Evidence, Commentary on the Evidence, Connect to Thesis). Avoid the five paragraph essay format—it won’t work for a paper of this length. Plan on writing 1-3 paragraphs for each subtopic you’ll use to support your thesis, and on incorporating your sources into several paragraphs instead of just one.
  3. For your conclusion, avoid summarizing what you have already said. Answer the “So what?” question by saving your most significant main point for last.
  4. Be sure to proofread your work carefully. Using academically-appropriate grammar and spelling will increase your credibility. Use 3rd person (he, him, they). Avoid 2nd person (you, yours, we), and 1st person (I, me, my, us). Please note that several of the templates in They Say I Say are written in 1st person; make sure that you revise them accordingly.
  5. Before the final draft of Paper 3 is due, you will workshop your rough draft on the Peer Review Discussion board for 25 pts, and you complete your online TLC Tutoring Session for 25 pts.
  6. As your last step in the writing process, you’ll revise your draft based on your peers’ and tutor’s feedback before you submit your final draft on Canvas.

How To Write Essay 2

Directions: Follow the prompts below to draft your paper one paragraph at a time. The Index of Templates in your They Say I Say textbook will help you as you begin to draft the paper after you finish this outline. Helpful Templates: Signaling Who is Saying What (316-317), Introducing & Explaining Quotations (313-314), Establishing Why Your Claims Matter (320). Feel free to type directly on this document. Feel free to pull up previous paper-drafting handouts, such as How to Write Essay 1—this older sheets will be helpful to you because they give further explanation about what to for each paragraph’s requirements, such as instructions for hooks, thesis statements, transitions, and more.

  1. Introductory paragraph:

o BACKGROUND INFO on the album, artist, and your topic. Provide an overview on how the album helps show the topic. Note: You can introduce all of your major sources here or as they come up in the body section.
o THESIS STATEMENT that states the overall cultural, social, or political significance of your chosen album.*Write out a full sentence here!
o Optional Thesis Templates: 1) Artist’s Name explores cultural, social, or political topic in album title. 2) Artist’s Name brings to light the important issue of cultural, social, or political topic in album title.
o Thesis Sample: Fiona Apple explores how a broken heart negatively impacts mental health and well-being in her album “The Idler Wheel”.

  1. Body Paragraph 1: Using your various required sources, evaluate one subtopic per body paragraph. How you approach & organize your subtopics is up to you—SUBTOPIC 1 below is one possible way—it shows how you can mix your sources together. Another option is separate your body paragraphs by type of source; you can even follow the order of your sources on the assignment sheet: 1) Lyrics, 2) Review, 3) Database Articles, shaping 1-2 body paragraphs for each source.

o SUBTOPIC 1: How a song from the album helps show a specific aspect of your topic.
o EVIDENCE: song lyrics, correctly cited
o EVALUATION: Interpret the lyrics & explain their significance to your topic. You can incorporate interpretations or information from your review of the album, or library database research to help support your interpretation of the lyrics & their significance.
o *Repeat evidence/evaluation if you have more examples of pertinent lyrics from the song, or, start a new body paragraph that addresses the same subtopic.
o RELATE TO THESIS: Sum up how this topic helps illustrate your thesis.

  1. Body Paragraphs 2-5:


  1. Body Paragraph 6: Optional, but encouraged! You should have 7-9 body paragraphs for a 6-8 page paper.
  2. Conclusion paragraph: * For your conclusion, avoid summarizing what you have already said. Answer the “So what?” question by saving your most significant main point for last.

o When drafting, make sure your conclusion paragraph hits the bottom of page 6! 6 full pages are required to pass.

  1. MLA Format & Requirements: All of your sources must be correctly cited throughout your paper, and each source you use needs a Works Cited entry. You can review the Works Cited pages on your Sample Paper 3s for examples. For how to format in-text citations & your Works Cited page for websites and your Review: Visit the Purdue Owl website and also keep the following in mind:

o Cite ALL of your outside sources when you reference/quote them in your paper; anytime the writing is not your own, put quotes around it.
o Your evaluation of the quotes should be MUCH longer than the quotes themselves—no block quoting allowed.
o Include a Works Cited entry for EACH source you use—review, song lyric website, library database articles, etc. The “Cite It” button on the database (which appears next to each article you have pulled up on your screen) provides the Works Cited entry for you—all you have to do is copy & paste to your Works Cited page!

Type of service-Academic paper writing
Type of assignment-Essay
Pages / words-6 / 1650
Number of sources-0
Academic level-Freshman (College 1st year)
Paper format-MLA
Line spacing-Double
Language style-US English

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