How George Bush Made Me Like Hip Hop

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George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States is responsible for my initial exposure to hip hop. In 2001, he passed the No Child Left Behind Act, a piece of legislature that began to scrutinize public schools and hold them to certain standards, mandating that schools make "adequate yearly progress" in the form of higher standardized test scores. In 2001, I was a fourth grader, living in a suburban bubble twenty miles northwest of Chicago, and I was the kind of kid who scored well on standardized tests. So well, in fact, that in the spring of my fourth grade year, I scored in the ninety-ninth percentile on my state's standardized test and was placed into a special program for fifth grade gifted and talented students. In response to the passing of No Child Left Behind, my school district decided to bus all of the high scoring standardized test takers from their home elementary schools to the school in the district that would not meet the standards of No Child Left Behind under the guise of that school having the most available classroom space. Every morning for fifth and sixth grade, I was bussed twenty minutes from my sheltered home to a school in the poorest area in my district, an area primarily made up of immigrant families, mostly of Hispanic and Chinese descent. I was finally exposed to something besides Disney Channel radio, and by befriending fifth grade girls that all had mad crushes on Usher and believed that they were the next Destiny's Child, I began to learn about a different style of music. At first my hip-hop tastes were limited by radio popularity, but as I got older and more versed in the internet, hip-hop became a thing of exploration for me. I was never on the inside of hip-hop, but rather an outsider always looking for something different for my ears. And now, ten years later, I'm listening to people like Jay Electronica, Odd Future, and J-Dilla, and thinking of the little frizzy-haired, pre-orthodontic me who wore her Adidas Superstars without laces and innocently and non-ironically brushed her shoulders off. Thanks Dubya!

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1 Comment

This post is so creative, Jane! I love that you gave it a spin by incorporating the No Child Left Behind Act, and by explaining your realization that Bush was the reason you were exposed to hip-hop in the first place. You had a really cool story to tell. I love the picture too!

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This page contains a single entry by Jane Danstrom published on September 9, 2012 10:09 AM.

Blog 1: My relation to Hip Hop was the previous entry in this blog.

My Big Fat Hip-Hop Family is the next entry in this blog.

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