AKALA: Because actually the sounds that rhyme to a Brazilian Portuguese accent are not exactly what we perceive musically to be rhymes in English and it was a really interesting thing that I kinda found and heard. And that isn’t an accident. AKALA: The next one. 3 0 obj Most people know the iambic pentameter, but if you look at something at like The Tempest, it’s not in pentameter at all. AKALA: Yeah, he was sampling other peoples’ stories. It’s invocations and music…. Nasir Jones. For me, it’s that sense of cultural property, of not being told, “You are X. Hip Hop. Play along with the Akala’s pop quiz and see if you can tell which of the following quotes are hip hop lyrics and which are lines from Shakespeare:-“To destroy the beauty from which one came…” Your guess: Correct answer:-“Maybe it’s hatred I spew; maybe it’s food for the spirit.” But it’s a dangerous point of reference to think that people suddenly started making music under the condition of enslavement. It’s all over the place. full list of Shakespeare Unlimited episodes. registered in England (Company No 02017289) with its registered office at 26 Red Lion So, the type of societies that West Africans came from to the Americas has often been oversimplified. AKALA: … describes it as jazz. And when you hear a song, same thing. BARBARA: The horrible ones are the interesting ones, yeah. So, we can play you the Golden Gate Quartet, who are a gospel quartet. AKALA: Sometimes. Akala claims that hip hop was originally a way to record knowledge or to brag about one’s intelligence. “The dumb are mostly intrigued by the drum” Hip Hop. If you’re not an expert on jazz or on classical music, it can all sound the same till you get into it, right? You think of Shakespeare’s best characters. I mean it’s… listen, I don’t like to embarrass people but we did a workshop, one of our launch workshops. BARBARA: And the other interesting thing when you consider what you’re saying and drawing this line from… way back into the past is that anyone, even if you don’t know any of this history, you can hear hip-hop and you can immediately like get it or like it. BARBARA: Well maybe you’ve already answered this question but, you know, every age relates to Shakespeare in a different way, and it’s the cliché to say that every age relates to Shakespeare. The sonnets fall into two groups: sonnets. Materially corrupt,Spiritually amuck,Oblivious to the cause,Prosperously bankrupt.Blind leading the blind,Guilty never defined,Filthy as swine,A generation pure in its own mind. BARBARA: This is The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company, your company? And so people would gather. If rapping was so easy, we’d all be Nas, right, or we’d all be KRS-One or we’d all be Lauryn Hill. AKALA: Okay. Even an acclaimed Shakespearean actor like Sir Ian McKellen can’t always answer correctly. He argues that until the mid 1990s, commercially successful hip hop artists boasted about how clever they were, ‘dropped science’ and demonstrated their knowledge, whilst simultaneously rapped about life in the ‘hood. It’s not there to beat you over the head with. Both my dad and my step-dad run sound systems and hip-hop. AKALA: I think there’s two points in there. I don’t think it has the same ring. BARBARA: You have a rap about this, right? So, when I came to Shakespeare, I was starting from a radically different point to anyone in my class because I’d grown up with… equally with the tradition of theater and with the Jamaican sound system. Surrender yourself to the floor.Mowbray: come, come, settle down,Don’t spit away your blood when you don’t have a crown…. AKALA: But also I mean the Elizabethan theater itself was not, you know, the Globe was on the south side next to the bear baiting and the prostitution. Yeah, so if you’ve got a four bar beat but you’ve got ten clicks of the high hat across those four bars, that’s sort of the way I would visually insert what your voice is doing and what the syllables are doing rhythmically within the kind of pattern of the drum structure. AKALA: And it isn’t. BARBARA: I still don’t recognize that line from Shakespeare. I’m gonna say that’s not Shakespeare. Multimedia lesson includes video and audio. BARBARA: So you do the Hip-hop and Bertolt Brecht Company? m�4:�@� Thanks. But kids, and adults even, often read Shakespeare before they see it, before they hear it, which just seems so cockeyed. How are language and power manipulated within Twelfth Night? There’s lots of stuff that doesn’t rhyme anymore because the accent of English has changed. AKALA: “I am reckless what I do to spite the world.”. �CGF�U�1����U��ed^��G$sH��P�wI�I�?�3�,�wM��� ����݃�`����r���V�l9IK8�թ�z��:�\i�,�)���ẍ�ܘ;��N���*n�YΝS�#[|��g6.7��oO) ޑ;-�Wxx�g�KLTD���������Rm�;���8] �zMi4'��i�[OE�_�잡����� ���+f�y�]��C���hB�ӄ��wxG���b�P�抋|���pu��(�ҹF3w��]4~wW��9E"9�2��. BARBARA: It was such a pleasure to talk to you. Created: Jun 3, 2015| Updated: Jun 16, 2015. AKALA: A hundred percent. Akala talks about the fifth element of hip hop: Knowledge. AKALA: That’s all right. I’m saying what Nas rapped about was profound and incredible. But I’m gonna say no, again. It was low culture, it came from the ghetto, that it was fake classical music, all this other stuff. Since 2009, under the auspices of his “Hip-hop Shakespeare Company,” Akala has been going to community centers, prisons, and schools in immigrant and underserved communities, using the tools of hip-hop to spread an understanding of the relevance of Shakespeare’s poetry. AKALA: But then the band and the actors who are also rappers and singers rewrote the rest of the story of Richard II as a collection of songs. But the fact is, similarly with Shakespeare’s sonnets, to take a coherent narrative, to rhyme it over the beat, to actually have flow and persona, like any art form is very, very difficult. You must know that this guy is clearly good at putting words together. Today, everyone’s like “Charlie Parker, of course he’s a genius. ‘Triumph’ – Wu-Tang Clan. Hamlet is not his story. Conditions. Get step-by-step explanations, verified by experts. There are three quarters of a million books surviving in the University of Timbuktu, which was the main university in that kingdom, though there were three universities. Making connections between Hip Hop rhythms and iambic pentameter in Shakespeare's verse. I have a… or so-called. We had help from Joe Philip at Covered PR, from Mariama Abudulai and from Ryan Pate at the Dub Room Studio in Los Angeles. You have the commercial, the mainstream hip-hop which is commercialized and it’s mainly put out by these large corporations, again, primarily historically probably white owned and operated. AKALA raps the lines of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 over a 90 BPM beat. But I do think it’s interesting that a lot of people who don’t know hip-hop have this negative opinion of it without even knowing it. �!X� ٙ�-x�Y}�]��`�5��Ѹ��dն Miles Davis, of course he’s a genius.” It’s similar with hip-hop. So the point is to just show you that once you remove the baggage of what you think Shakespeare’s about and what you think hip-hop’s about, the… all of a sudden it becomes much more difficult to differentiate. AKALA: Yeah, I mean the politics of class, really, in the UK, even in a lot of Britain’s former colonies, actually, there’s less of an intimidation, ironically, towards Shakespeare than in the UK itself, where if you’re in India, for example, you know, a society where they have their own three millennia long tradition of, you know, literary history, people I worked with in India, I… even children from tougher backgrounds were just like, Shakespeare’s… yeah, he’s another writer. It’s literally all over the place. I don’t… no, definitely not. And so if poets today try and do that, it’s like poetic mathematics. BARBARA: So, what is it about iambic pentameter that does this? Want more? It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. I am one that I sometimes am critical of mainstream hip-hop and the violence and the misogyny and whatever else. You know, it’s…. It’s Nas. ( Log Out / So, you have some, you know, highly sophisticated centralized structures of government in early medieval West Africa. To destroy the beauty from which one came Hip Hop Shakespeare. Choose from a variety of Folger events and programs, on Capitol Hill, around Washington, DC, and across the country. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and DerbyAm I, who ready here do stand in arms. Based on his work with the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company, in this TED talk, Akala demonstrates the connections between Shakespeare and hip hop ranging from the obvious links such as rhythm and language, to less less well known similarities. Garland Scott is the associate producer. In actuality Shakespeare’s works were focused on and spoke to the Elizabethan ‘street’ and hip hop is essentially poetry. BARBARA BOGAEV: Well, part of me just wants you to rap for half an hour. I think there’s something about Shakespeare as a brand, but I think that comes as much from what has been written about him as what he wrote. The Folger is dedicated to advancing knowledge and the arts. Do they say, oh… do they always think it can’t possibly be Shakespeare because it sounds so modern? What you gonna do?All you little boys get Tamed like the Shrew.You're midsummer dreamin',Your tunes ain't appealingI'm Capulet, you're Montague, I ain't feeling.I am the Julius Caesar hear meThe Merchant Of Venice couldn't sell your CDAs for me, All's Well That Ends WellYour boy's like Macbeth, you're going to Hell.Measure for Measure, I am the best hereYou're Merry Wives of Windsor not King LearI don't know about Timon,I know he was in Athens.When I come back like Hamlet you pay for your actions. ‘Memory lane’ – Nas “The bell invites me” Shakespeare. Maybe ‘cause they are bloody brilliant, lots of them. AKALA: Yeah, I don’t have a Dostoyevsky one, but it’s all right. You think of full stuff. I will do. Browse our full list of Shakespeare Unlimited episodes. BARBARA: I don’t think that’s Shakespeare. So, if you come to England, you’ll hear more people that sound like me but that way of speaking, Received Pronunciation, so-called Queen’s English, did not exist in Shakespeare’s time. So, when we understand in Mali, for example, you have a character called the griot praising, you know, often on the payroll of the king—you know, wrote long poems, the most famous of which is the Malian epic of Sundiata—genealogist, a historian, a musician that would actually go to school for 21 years: seven years for speech, seven years for musicianship, seven years for singing.
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