Congratulations Past Due You Deserve Better English Language Essay

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Throughout history, bands and artists have exploited their creativity and manufactured a multitude of melodic lyrics. Among billions of songs that exist in the musical dimension, are songs that tunefully express human emotions and personal qualities. Displeasure; contempt; sociological insurgency; deviation; sorrow; and pride are among an innumerable amount of characteristics and emotions that can not only be heard via the musical catalyst, but can become both a tangible substance where listeners can relate to as well. Conversely, displeasure prevails as a subject where artists place politics, religion, history, and social norms into their songbooks. Commencement Day, a song by Seattle-based Hip-Hop duo Blue Scholars, displays disdain for the American educational system and beautifully criticizes the lack of structure and effectiveness-two principal problems plaguing the United States to this day. Moreover, the duo's lead emcee, Geologic A.K.A. Prometheus Brown, lyrically discusses what it means to be educated in this day and age.

To the graduating class of 2000 whatever

Congratulations past due, you deserve better

Looking down with a cap and a gown

You got fam snapping pics, clapping loud in the back of the crowd

Now the band playing "Pomp and Circumstance"

Got you amped, feeling like a champ

Class is out of session at last

You've been patiently waiting

Twelve years in the making

Anybody who has doubted you was sadly mistaken

With a paper with your name in Old English for the taken

So moms can bring it home, to frame it and display it

With the grade point average hanging over your head

"Brother, Sister, please don't believe the bullshit they said"

Fuck the pledge of allegiance and arrogant teachers

But peace to the people who don't ever preach

Up in the front of the class, all day long

Planting seeds of revolution, we dedicate this song

Deciphering Commencement Day 3

It goes

One for the student who refuses to submit

Two for the teachers who are underpaid and shit

It's the next generation of miseducated youths

Who demonstrate the truth and manage to make it through

It goes

Three for the stripes giving young bloods life

And Four for the years you've been stifled inside

It's the next generation of miseducated youths

Next time, ask 'em for proof

Now to the knuckleheads clowning in the back of the class

To the teacher's pet monkey in the front kissing ass

But most of all everyone else who sat between them

And questioned all the falsehoods that teachers believe in

Up in hallways in herded in, locker territorial-ism

Up in the assemblies, nobody would listen

Instead, rock the mixtape and

Walkman the street

With the headphones, threaded from the pocket through the sleeve

You received education through the music you heard

Cafeteria tables enabled beats to occur

Where students separated in cliques

The state of the nation, manifested up in high school politics

History repeated, you read it to regurgitate

Slave-owning, dead white men, folks you know they make

Curriculums to design obedient drones

Bring your paper but please leave your lyrics at home

Deciphering Commencement Day 4

It goes

One for the student who refuses to submit

Two for the teachers who are underpaid and shit

It's the next generation of miseducated youths

Who demonstrate the truth and manage to make it through

It goes

Three for the stripes giving young bloods life

And Four for the years you've been stifled inside

It's the next generation of miseducated youths

Next time, ask 'em for proof

It goes

One for the student who refuses to submit

Two for the teachers who are underpaid and shit

It's the next generation of miseducated youths

Who demonstrate the truth and manage to make it through

It goes Three for the stripes giving young bloods life

And Four for the years you've been stifled inside

It's the next generation of miseducated youths

Next time, ask 'em for proof

Deciphering Commencement Day 5

High school is an imperative stage to an adolescent's life. Above and beyond academics, a high school student discovers their individuality. Who and what they thought they were prior to this "transformation stage" is no longer applicable. In the second line of the first verse, Geologic sarcastically states, "Congratulations past due, you deserve better", to recognize the social-educational problem that high school graduations are undervalued and more than just the practice of formally leaving a secondary educational institute. Ergo, graduation symbolizes a life-changing accomplishment, and should warrant more praise than a family congratulation, verbally displayed in the successive lines:

Looking down with a cap and gown

You got fam snapping pics clapping loud in the back of the crowd

Now the band playing 'Pomp and Circumstance'

Got you amped, feeling like a champ

… With a paper with your name in Old English for the taken

So moms can bring it home, to frame it and display it

With the grade point average hanging over your head

"Brother, sister, please don't believe the bullshit they said"

Fuck the pledge of allegiance and arrogant teachers

But peace to the people who don't ever preach

Up in front of the class, all day long

Planting seeds of revolution, we dedicate this song

Throughout Commencement Day, Geologic suggests that education in the United States has become more of a routine than a valuable source of advancement, as he rhymes "…class is out of session at last, you've been patiently waiting, twelve years in the making…" This poetic piece fuses both reality and uncertainty. "Twelve years in the making" plays along with the previous thought that graduating is underrated, and comes together to bring another message- students spend a lot of time in school for what it's worth, setting the foundation for a loss of interest. David E. Kirkland, Ph.D-an English language aficionado and hip-hop activist-published his 2008 article Promoting Hip-Hop in Education, where the cracks in American education are put into retrospect. Much like Blue Scholars' Prometheus Brown, Kirkland

Deciphering Commencement Day 6

clarifies that a host of teenagers are reluctant to learn or lack interest in education solely for the reason that the ratio between time and interaction is highly restricted. Hip-Hop and Literacy published their criticism in Teaching Hip-Hop in the Classroom, which identifies the troubles of modern-day teaching and why education isn't as affluent as it used to be. Promoting Hip-Hop in Education is an unswerving source for it serves as the journalistic foreground for the poetic Commencement Day.

"I noticed that students are often misunderstood because their teacher's cannot identify with their generation Because of this, students often lose interest in school or begin to act out. In order to be

effective teacher's must learn to immerse themselves in their students' cultures so they can become part of the children's dynamic and get to know the student's on a personal level."

In fact, teaching methods of many schools across the United States are constrained to where teachers incorporating culture into their curriculums, which can be both edifying and enjoyable, have resulted in dismissal-both the idea, and the teachers. In September of 2010, a Spokane, Washington English teacher was suspended on the first day of school for distributing lyrics to Blue Scholars' Commencement Day for his twelfth-grade class to analyze and discuss. The official validation for the callous penalty was due to infrequent swearing that was both scarce and scattered. However, to this day, controversy runs rampant among the musical world and teacher's union. Many people-including fans, the teacher's former students, the media, and Blue Scholars themselves-suggest that the rationale behind the teacher's suspension is in fact due to the lyrical content, but not the profanity. Rap Genius-a reliable source for decrypting rap lyrics-depicts a clear continuation of said boredom of school. In lines six through ten in Geologic's second verse,

Deciphering Commencement Day 7

Up in the assemblies, nobody would listen

Instead, rock the mixtape and walkman the street

With the headphones, threaded from the pocket to the sleeve

You received education through the music you heard

Cafeteria tables enabled beats to occur

students would "much rather listen to their music, since they learn more". Commencement Day clearly criticizes teachers and the American educational system. Geologic backs this up in an interview with KOMO, sharply stating, "I'm not knocking education, but there are a lot of things we can do to improve (our schools), for teachers and students."

Today, education is a two-way street. The first lane serves as a beacon to be book-smart, while the latter is manufacture well-rounded individuals, both in the classroom, and on the street. The problem with this, though, is that censorship in modern-day education distorts what being "well-rounded" is.

It goes

One for the student who refuses to submit

Two for the teachers who are underpaid and shit

It's the next generation of miseducated youths

Who demonstrate the truth and manage to make it through

It goes

Three for the stripes giving young bloods life

And four for the years you've been stifled inside

It's the next generation of miseducated youths

Next time, ask 'em for proof

The hook above takes a more radical approach to education's ill-fated demise. "One for the student who refuses to submit, two for the teachers who are underpaid and shit" praises students who see the fallacies in today's teaching. "It's the next generation of miseducated youths" is just what the doctor ordered. This line foreshadows the unfortunate, immanent results

Deciphering Commencement Day 8

of the holes in modern education and replaces what education used to mean, with what it will mean. Today, education means to be enlightened; to be able to stand up on your own two feet; to have a rational outlook on the world. Prometheus Brown seems to agree-"We demonstrate the truth and manage to make it through…three for the stripes giving young bloods life…"

History repeated, you read it to regurgitate

Slave-owning, dead white men, folks you know they make

Curriculums to design obedient drones

Bring your paper but please leave your lyrics at home

This stanza is a key model in connecting the idea that education falls on the borderline of futility and ineptness. "…history repeated, you read it to regurgitate… curriculums to design obedient drones" symbolizes that modern education is designed with glitches; that the curriculums and material being taught will not advance students to higher levels of their lives. This is imperative as it also establishes a relationship with Dr. Kirkland's hypothesis that the solution to the educational system's crisis is to incorporate a method in teaching where realism and education can coexist. Blue Scholars' underground rap single, Commencement Day, is the medium between identifying what modern day education really is; what it means to be educated; and the splinters that are stuck into the system. David E. Kirkland's Promoting Hip-Hop; Hip-Hop and Literacy's Teaching Hip-Hop in the Classroom; and Rap Genius contributed to the philosophy behind Commencement Day by tossing similar theories to the table.

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