Lest you thought the ABT structure was only for Abe Lincoln and Watson and Crick, rapper Q-Tip shows you how it underlies all effective argumentation as he lectures Iggy Azalea on Twitter.



RAPPER Q-TIP USES TWITTER TO DELIVER A SHORT TUTORIAL ON RAP MUSIC TO AUSTRALIAN FEMALE RAPPER IGGY AZALEA. It’s in the form of an ABT, though he needed a little more than a single tweet to get it out.




As I mentioned earlier this year, the co-creator of Twitter appeared on the Colbert Report and mentioned that they are working on a longer version of Twitter — realizing that maybe 140 characters isn’t enough to convey coherent narratives (Colbert had been the victim of a punch line taken out of context on Twitter).

In the meantime, our Connection Storymaker Workshops revealed that when using the ABT narrative template, groups converge consistently on an average of around 300 characters. This suggests Tweets are less than half as long as what’s needed to convey a simple narrative statement.



In the recent Twitter flap between young female rappers Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks over black culture, rapper and record producer Q-Tip offered up his perspective on their conflict by posting a mini-lecture via Twitter. He only needed … 40 Tweets to get it all out. Isn’t that saying something about the narrative limitations of the medium?

Here’s his mini-lecture. What’s great about it is, sure enough, he follows the ABT structure, plain and simple. Notice the first two paragraphs are his set up — a series of expository statements that could be linked with “and’s.” The third paragraph starts with “But!” right on schedule. Then I’ve added “THEREFORE” in parentheses at the start of the last paragraph — you can feel it could fit there if you wanted. The last paragraph is the statement of consequences.

In a single sentence, he basically says, “African Americans have endured a lot of hard times AND the struggle continues, BUT through art we have found a voice, especially through hiphop and rap which now everyone can related to, THEREFORE I encourage you to enjoy what we’ve created, but just be aware of where it came from.”

That pretty much captures what he had to say, but even this ABT took 282 characters — more than double what a tweet allows. Which says something needs to change.

Here’s Q-Tip’s essay…

“HipHop is a artistic and socio-political movement/culture that sprang from the disparate ghettos of NY in the early 70’s Coming off the heels of the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT and approaching the end of the Vietnam war it was a crossroads 4 America specially for blacks in the US our neighborhoods were PROLIFERATED w/a rush of HEROINE.”

“Our school systems here in NY dungeon traps with light for learning… blk men some of whom didn’t return from tours of duty n the ones who did came w/war baggage (agent orange, addiction, ect..)… these men had families but due to these events and throw into the mix the public emasculation… they proved to be handicapped parents. The surrogate parents? The STREETS… the streets of gangs, crimes, and the hustlers coddled us and swept us up.”

“But! Being a spirited, rhythmic & expressive people music art dance outlined our existence… it proved a way for us to exhault to scream to dance to laugh and find OUR VOICE… we weren’t at the time skilled musicians as kids. We had records, turntables, ideas and INGENUITY being natural chemist we took from whatever was availed to us and we created something mighty and special.”

“We cut breakbeats back n forth we took a hybrid of Jamaican toasting along w/ radio jock rap( hank Spann, Gary Byrd, ect.) and we put our rap down.. it was a neighborhood thing really. Black and Latino Kids were carving out their space and it became infectious… eventually Keith Cowboy coined the phrase hiphop . Yrs later the first rap record was recorded and now we r moving.”

“But during these strides this country still had the monster of racism and racial insensitivity breathing and ruling… believe it or not young black n Latino lives specifically weren’t acknowledged in mainstream American culture unless Of course.. the convo was abt gangs , being criminals or uneducated. And hey! Like I stated early our families were rushed our schools sucked and we were left to put devices to survive… but HIPHOP showed that we had DEPTH, fire, and BRILLANCE… the music was undeniable! It moved from NY N became national and even GLOBAL.”

Hiphop now was FOR EVERYBODY!! All of those who cld relate to the roots, the spirit, the history, the energy.. It reached YOU… it touched your spirit n took u up. We magnetized you! That’s what BRILLANCE does… now u are fulfilling your dreams … BUT! you have to take into account the HISTORY as you move underneath the banner of hiphop. As I said before… hiphop is fun it’s vile it’s dance it’s traditional it’s light hearted but 1 thing it can never detach itself from is being a SOCIO-Political movement.”

“U may ask why … Well once you are born black your existence I believe is joined with socio-political epitaph and philos based on the tangled and treacherous history SLAVERY alone this is the case it never leaves our conversation… Ever. WeAther in our universities our dinner tables our studios or jail cells… the effects still resononates with us. It hurts… We get emotional and angry and melancholy… did u know president Clinton was the ONLY PRESIDENT to apologize for it? did u know that remnants of slavery exist today thru white privilege? When certain “niceties” r extended your way because of how u look? Isn’t that crazy?”

(THEREFORE) “I say this 2 say u are a hiphop artist who has the right 2 express herself however she wishes… this is not a chastisement this is not admonishment at ALL this is just one artist reaching to another hoping to spark insight into the field you r in. I say this in the spirit of a hopeful healthy dialogue that maybe one day we can continue… I’ve been on twitter a long time and this will probably be my last series of tweets pretty much but I’m Kool with it as long as I got to share this w u. Zzzzzzz’s up! Peace!”