The Hook behind the Rapper: The Tension in a Diegetic Rhetoric of Music in The Wire
The Wire, often considered one of the best shows on television, utilizes long-form storytelling techniques to great success. Scholars have often looked at the show from the perspective of cultural theory and rhetoric, often considering both at the same time. However, one rhetorical element of the show is often overlooked: its music. This is not surprising, since the show primarily utilizes diegetic music—that is, the music is part of the narrative and not used as a direct emotional manipulator or hailing device, which is often the case in other TV shows. In this essay, I argue that music is an important rhetorical device in the show, one that displays a tension between its use as a purely diegetic sonic prop and its function as a device that draws the audience into a deeper, subtler rhetoric occurring between characters.