Summer Oh
Richard Montgomery High School
Rockville, Maryland
12th Grade
Grand Prize Winner

Historic Rap Battle

[Moderator]

All right, listen up! We have a legendary battle between George Washington versus Dr. Dre! Tonight, we’ll find out which of these men is truly the greater entrepreneur. As the challenger, Dr. Dre starts. Begin!

[Dre]

Y’all know me: it’s the same D-R-E,

             This old man in a wig tryin’ to top the OG[*].

I was born to the music life, but my father didn’t stay,

            So I made my own name, taught myself how to DJ.[1]

My home was my studio ‘cause I came from the ghetto,[2]

            The Master of Mixology, I knew I was special.[3]

With N.W.A., I started rapping to my own beat,

            Teachin’ the world ‘bout life on the cold streets.[4]

Snubbed by the media, sold over two million copies,[5]

            Invented “Reality Rap”,[6] even the police couldn’t stop me.[7]

In ‘92, with Knight I formed my premier record label,[8]

            I went solo, hit the charts, and turned the hip-hop tables.

When Death Row took the death toll and gangsta rap was dead,[9]

            I created my new label- Aftermath Entertainment.[10]

At 43, I founded my famous Beats Electronics company,[11]

            Every other person was wearing headphones made by yours truly. 

And while you were being honest ‘bout choppin’ cherry trees,

            3 years ago, I made the biggest deal in Apple history![12]

Rapper, producer, entrepreneur, in music I’ve played each part,

            But if you think I’ll fall off, man, watch out! This is just Dre’s start.

[Washington]

“Let me tell you what I wished I’d known

            When I was young and dreamed of glory”.[13]

Dre, your accomplishments do not equate,

            To even a fraction of my life story!

When I was eleven I managed my late father’s plantation,

            As a child, instead of sports, I ran a farm for recreation.[14]

While you dropped out of high school and DJed as a music fan,[15]

            At seventeen, was a pro surveyor, acquiring my own land.[16]

By twenty-one, I already had a military career,

            I traveled to Le Boeuf and was internationally endeared.[17]

I killed a French commander and ignited our first world war,

            Think I can’t handle you? Son, I’ve dodged bullets since I was twenty-four![18]

As thanks, I got Virginia’s whole militia to command,

            Learned the art of creating orders as a trained army-man.[19]

In the 60’s I went home to the farm work I’d left,

            I changed crops, cut off Britain, and paid off my family’s debt.[20]

At the Continental Congress, I was elected Commander-in-Chief,

            Had to lead a revolution ‘cause the greedy King had beef.[21]

Outnumbered, I lead my troops with cunning and determination,

            With forced surrender at Yorktown, I brought about a new nation![22]

Then I rose to power through the only unanimous election,

            I changed the Articles, lead the Constitutional convention.[23]

“As the first of everything”, my work established precedent,[24]

            You might be the King of Hip-Hop, but I’m still the president.

[Dre]

Sorry, did I hear you right? You’re the Father of this Country?

            More like Town Destroyer with a legacy of white supremacy.[25]

You lead a disastrous first command with zero military experience,

            And when you got the hang of it you burned down 40 Indian villages.[26]

You unknowingly confessed murder and surrendered to the enemy,

            ‘Cause you wouldn’t admit you didn’t speak French at Fort Necessity.[27]

As a military commander, you lost more battles than you won,

            And for the thousands of men who died, that probably wasn’t fun.[28]

Now I get it, Wash, death took away both of our brothers,[29]

            But while you grew up with wealth, I grew up with drugs and slaughter.

Not to mention, if your enterprise is the U.S.A.

            Then your business was really built by all the people you enslaved.

As the president, you could and should have abolished slavery,

            But instead you traveled in and out of Penn to keep your “property”.[30]

You signed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793,[31]

            To ensure those in bondage could never be set free.

Also you’re a hypocrite, who criticized taxation without representation,

            While you passed a “whiskey tax” to make up for all your debt evasion.[32]

 “[A]ll men are created equal” is what the Declaration said,[33]

            Yet you kept all your slaves until after you were dead.

[Washington]

Yes, it’s true, that I followed the moral standards of my time,

            But through wars and free black soldiers, I eventually changed my mind.[34]

In command, I approved the enlistment of African-Americans,

            And near the end of my life I never bought or sold a slave again.[35]

I entered my endeavors to fight for our independence,

            While you entered music to win some cash and feud with 50 Cent.[36]

You got your mind on your money and your money on your mind,[37]

            Wait look who’s on the dollar. Whose head’s that? Mine!

Like you, I know “nothing is more agreeable… than good music”,[38]

            However, I also know that it can be fatal when one misuses it.

During the Revolutionary War, “the music of the army [was]... very bad”,[39]

            Yet, it doesn’t compare to the FBI letter your song nabbed.[40]

Music’s supposed to lift low spirits and influence new thought,

            Yet your songs incited violence and encouraged police assault.[41]

Now stop trying to lecture me about equality and human rights,

            I don’t appreciate moral lessons from a man who beats his wife.[42]

“To encourage literature and the arts

            is a duty… every good citizen owes… his country”,[43]

Dre, I thank you for your contributions

            As leader of the free land and sea.

[Dre]

Hold on, I’m not simply an artist, so, Mr. President, take a seat-

            “[E]ven when I was close to defeat, I rose to my feet”,[44]

            Didn’t just contribute, I transformed the music industry!

Inspired by Parliament-Funkadelic, I invented Gangsta-Funk,

            The Chronic had a new sound that redefined rap and hip-hop.[45]

My West-Coast blend of synthesizers, “slow grooves” and “deep bass” became,[46]

            The most popular genre in hip-hop and the distinct sound of rap’s new fame.

Entertainment Weekly named me “king of rap producers”,

My national hit “‘G’ Thang’” made rap more American for the future.[47]

I also propelled hip-hop culture with the rap legends I produced for,

            Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, I could easily name 20 more.[48]

Rap is the voice of an underrepresented people,[49]

            With African-American roots, it’s our blackbird to your eagle.

Through rap, I’ve preached #BlackLivesMatter since the late 80s,[50]

            I told the story of poor black people to white men and white ladies.

I’m also a symbol for my people, my catchy household name

            Represents the power you can achieve when you refuse to join a gang.[51]

With Beats, I allow music lovers “to hear what the artists hear”,[52]

            I enlightened art by preserving emotions that often disappear.

Have you seen your country lately? Your morals are going down in flames!

            But while our rights and freedom vanish, our thoughts and music will remain.

[Washington]

In my Farewell Address, I said "steer clear of permanent Alliances",[53]

            Advice that should be heard and heeded by every U.S. president.

Nonetheless Dre, I admit that your rap work was extensive and impressive,

            Like me, you represented hope, despite that your tactics were aggressive.

However, did you ever think about what allowed for your success?

            It’s the Land of Opportunity that promoted your progress!

I established a nation with a dedication to opportunity,

            So even poor people like you could eventually achieve prosperity.

Promoting knowledge, I was the first to sign a Copyright Act,[54]

            So others can’t plagiarize your famous Veggie-Ear-Traps.

In regards to my business, there was a high standard that I set,

            I built up our nation’s credit and wiped out all our French debt.[55]

While you united races by sharing grievous sights you witnessed,

            I united our country through “communities of interest”.[56]

You connected people with different backgrounds through verse and song,

            Similarly, I knew trading goods and ideas would lead to getting-along.[57]

During the Constitutional Convention of 1787,

            I encouraged entrepreneurs so we’d avoid cultural regression.[58]

Dre, there’s no doubt that your work deserves its worship,

            It’s fulfilling for me as well, as the Father of U.S. Entrepreneurship.

[Moderator]

Thank you both. This has been a historic rap battle. Dr. Dre, as a lyrical genius, you had some of the sickest bars, and would win an ordinary rap battle easily. Unfortunately, today’s rap battle was a little different, and from the beginning your chances were slanted. You tried to compare a music enterprise to the creation of our great nation. And while your achievements in music were significant, especially for black Americans, they cannot outdo the founding of a country that has allowed you, and all other Americans, to rise as a businessmen and women. Thus, in the battle of entrepreneurs, I must declare Washington the winner.

[Washington]

Dre, I congratulate you for a life and battle well done.

[Dre]

Alright old man, I acknowledge that you won,

            But if you think this is over, check your bullets before your gun,

            We’ll see who’s really best after my life is done.

 

[*] Short for “Original Gangster”

[1]Ronin Ro, Dr. Dre: The Biography (New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2007), 5.

[2]Ro, Dr. Dre, 5.

[3]Ro, Dr. Dre, 14.

[4]Ro, Dr. Dre, 55.

[5]Ro, Dr. Dre, 54.

[6]Ro, Dr. Dre, 55.

[7]Ro, Dr. Dre, 55.

[8]Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Dr. Dre Biography & History." AllMusic. 2017. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/dr-dre-mn0000805274/biography.

[9]Ro, Dr. Dre, 139.

[10]Ro, Dr. Dre, 140.

[11]Burrell, Ian. "Dr Dre: He’s all ears with golden Beats." The Independent. September 7, 2012. Accessed January 31, 2017. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/dr-dre-he-s-all-ears-with-golden-beats-8118047.html.

[12]Solomon, Brian. "It's Official: Apple Adds Dr. Dre With $3 Billion Beats Deal." Forbes. May 28, 2014. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2014/05/28/apple-brings-dr-dre-on-board-with-official-3-billion-beats-deal/#6b92e2e116d2.

[13]Miranda, Lin-Manuel. "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story." Genius. September 25, 2015. Accessed January 20, 2017. https://genius.com/Lin-manuel-miranda-who-lives-who-dies-who-tells-your-story-lyrics.

[14]"George Washington's Childhood." George Washington Biography, History and Facts. 2015. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.georgewashington.org/childhood.jsp.

[15]Ro, Dr. Dre, 21.

[16]"George Washington's Professional Surveys." Founders Online. Accessed January 20, 2017. https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-01-02-0004.

[17]"Biography of George Washington." George Washington's Mount Vernon. 2017. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/biography/.

[18]"Biography of George Washington."

[19]"Ten Facts About George Washington and the French & Indian War." George Washington's Mount Vernon. 2017. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/french-indian-war/ten-facts-about-george-washington-and-the-french-indian-war/.

[20]"George Washington: Life Before the Presidency." Miller Center . 2017. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://millercenter.org/president/biography/washington-life-before-the-presidency.

[21]"George Washington." The White House. December 25, 2014. Accessed January 20, 2017. https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/presidents/georgewashington.

[22]"George Washington."

[23]"George Washington."

[24]"George Washington."

[25]Cornblatt, Johannah. "‘Town Destroyer’ Versus the Iroquois Indians." U.S. News. June 27, 2008. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.usnews.com/news/national/articles/2008/06/27/town-destroyer-versus-the-iroquois-indians.

[26]"‘Town Destroyer’ Versus the Iroquois Indians."

[27]"Lieutenant Colonel George Washington builds Fort Necessity." History.com. 2009. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lieutenant-colonel-george-washington-builds-fort-necessity.

[28]"Key Facts about George Washington." George Washington's Mount Vernon. 2017. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/key-facts/.

[29]"Lawrence Washington." George Washington's Mount Vernon. 2017. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.mountvernon.org/digital-encyclopedia/article/lawrence-washington/.

[30]Dunbar, Erica Armstrong. "George Washington, Slave Catcher." The New York Times. February 16, 2015. Accessed January 20, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/16/opinion/george-washington-slave-catcher.html.

[31]History.com Staff. "Fugitive Slave Acts." History.com. 2009. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/fugitive-slave-acts.

[32]"Whiskey Rebellion." George Washington's Mount Vernon. 2017. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.mountvernon.org/digital-encyclopedia/article/whiskey-rebellion/.

[33]"The Declaration of Independence: Full text." UShistory.org. July 4, 1995. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/.

[34]"George Washington, Slave Catcher."

[35]"George Washington and Slavery." George Washington's Mount Vernon. 2017. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.mountvernon.org/digital-encyclopedia/article/george-washington-and-slavery/.

[36]Ro, Dr. Dre, 261.

[37] Dogg, Snoop. "Gin and Juice." Genius. January 15, 1994. Accessed January 20, 2017. https://genius.com/Snoop-dogg-gin-and-juice-lyrics.

[38]"Music." George Washington's Mount Vernon. 2017. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.mountvernon.org/digital-encyclopedia/article/music/.

[39]"Music."

[40]Ro, Dr. Dre, 61.

[41]Ro, Dr. Dre, 61.

[42]Kornhaber, Spencer. "Why Dr. Dre's Abuse of Women Is Catching Up With Him Now." The Atlantic. August 19, 2015. Accessed January 31, 2017. http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/08/dr-dres-abuse-women-dee-barnes-straight-outta-compton/401744/.

[43]Manca, Joseph. George Washington's Eye: Landscape, Architecture, and Design at Mount Vernon. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.

[44]Dre, Dr. "Still D.R.E." Genius. October 13, 1999. Accessed January 20, 2017. https://genius.com/Dr-dre-still-dre-lyrics.

[45]Ro, Dr. Dre, 103.

[46]"G-Funk." AllMusic. 2017. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.allmusic.com/subgenre/g-funk-ma0000011824/albums.

[47]Ro, Dr. Dre, 101.

[48]"Dr. Dre Biography & History."

[49]Blanchard, Becky. "The Social Significance of Rap & Hip-Hop Culture." Ethics of Development in a Global Environment (EDGE) . July 26, 1999. Accessed January 20, 2017. https://web.stanford.edu/class/e297c/poverty_prejudice/mediarace/socialsignificance.htm.

[50]Craven, Julia, and Nick Wing. " 5 Things To Tell Anyone Who Blames Black Lives Matter For Violence Against Cops." The Huffington Post. September 3, 2015. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/black-lives-matter-violence-cops_us_55e77d82e4b0c818f61a9de8.

[51]Ro, Dr. Dre, 1.

[52]"Dr Dre: He’s all ears with golden Beats."

[53]"Farewell Address." UShistory.org. 2016. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.ushistory.org/us/17d.asp.

[54]"Ten Facts About Washington's Presidency." George Washington's Mount Vernon. 2017. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/the-first-president/ten-facts-about-washingtons-presidency/.

[55]Mochari, Ilan. "5 Surprising Business Lessons From This Entrepreneur-Turned-U.S. President." Inc.com. May 02, 2016. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.inc.com/ilan-mochari/george-washington-entrepreneur.html.

[56]"George Washington: America’s First Entrepreneur." Knowledge@Wharton. April 19, 2016. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/ed-lengel-george-washington-myths-book/

[57]"George Washington: America’s First Entrepreneur."

[58]Hensel, Anna. "George Washington: Founding Father of U.S. Entrepreneurship." Inc.com. February 22, 2016. Accessed January 20, 2017. http://www.inc.com/anna-hensel/george-washington-the-entrepreneur.html.