Every week, Syracuse University professor Aileen Gallagher helps Longreads highlight the best of college journalism. Here’s this week’s pick:

The critical essay challenges all writers, especially young ones. Some of their essays are better endured than read, the intellectual version of middle school poetry. Writers begin to build their critical vocabulary from the lecture halls and erudite texts of the academy and early attempts resemble sociology papers more than essays. As they write more (and read more), students grow out of it. Sam Rosen of Brown University is at the cusp of being a fine critical writer. His essay, “Nothing Was the Same: On Drake and the White Boy Imaginary,” is both readable and insightful. Though there are traces of Ivory Tower vernacular throughout, Rosen articulates his ideas about Drake and racial identity in an accessible way. He’s even funny.

Nothing Was the Same: On Drake and the White Boy Imaginary

Sam Rosen | The Indy | 10 minutes (2,493 words)


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