How did you do? Were you surprised? Did it change your ideas about rap, or poetry, or both?
I’ve always maintained that rappers and Shakespeare have a lot in common. Shakespeare put parts of words together to form new ones, used them in different ways which resulted in their meanings morphing into uses different and opposite, he wrote for an every day audience — sound familiar? I do know this is not a new idea.
I think the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company describes this phenomenon perfectly:
Both hip-hop music and Shakespeare’s works as a form of cultural expression are often misrepresented in that hip-hop is not given the intellectual credit it deserves in an academic, literary or poetic sense. At the same time, Shakespeare is often presented from a culturally “high brow” viewpoint which for many young people makes his work seem irrelevant to their lives and therefore sometimes incomprehensible and boring, when in fact Shakespeare in his day was seen in a similar light to that which many rappers are viewed today: his works popularised social and economical commentary as a form of entertainment and were often directed not just at the upper levels of society but also very much at members of the Elizabethan ’street’.
All I can say is, “WORD.”
(image: will.i.am gussied up like the bard — Even the head of the Royal Shakespeare Company notes the similarities between rap and Shakespeare!)