The audience for the article is the readership of National Geographic magazine, which published the article in 2007. This audience is, generally speaking, predominantly white, college educated, and middle to upper middle class. His purpose for writing the piece is to introduce hip hop music to this audience. McBride is, in essence, functioning as a kind of guide or interpreter.
Although McBride is black, he empathizes with what he thinks his white audience thinks about hip hop. In fact, the piece begins with “his nightmare,” which must also be the nightmare of his audience:
My daughter comes home with a guy and says, "Dad, we're getting married." And he's a rapper, with a mouthful of gold teeth, a do-rag on his head, muscles popping out his arms, and a thug attitude.
Hip hop music is thug music, but, unlike McBride and his fellow Columbia School of Journalism graduates, "the real storytellers of the American experience" were thugs: people like the "dude wearing a do-rag who'd crashed"...
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