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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hip Hop and Shakespeare

Hip Hop and Shakespeare

Recently, I watched an interesting TED talk by award-winning hip hop artist Akala, a social entrepreneur who works at the convergence of two art forms that many would consider completely different: hip hop and Shakespeare. His music and production company explores the social, cultural and linguistic parallels between the works of English playwright and poet, William Shakespeare, and that of influential modern hip-hop artists.

Hip hop and Shakespeare share a broader appeal, with surprisingly similar themes and influence. Hip hop is frequently the expression of people who don’t feel as though they have a voice, such as youth from disadvantaged neighborhoods. While Shakespeare may appear elitist, most of his audiences were the people, those who could not read and faced the constant turmoil and poverty common to the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Both art forms communicate social messages while providing entertainment, with themes of self-boasting of one’s ability and potential and political commentary being especially common.

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Similarly, the mechanics and effects of hip hop and Shakespeare are alike. The iambic pentameter, described by Akala in his TED talk as the “heartbeat of life”, is used to communicate feeling. Shakespeare is often commended for his illumination of the human experience, how perfectly he was able to capture complex, yet common, human emotions in words. The feeling expressed by hip hop and Shakespeare utilizes imagery, metaphors, irony, tone and diction. Lyricism and authenticity, or keeping it real, is sought out and praised. Both reflect themes of social change relevant at the time, a platform for issues such as racism, poverty or social structures.Whether in dance and fashion or language and philosophy, hip-hop and Shakespeare have undeniably impacted and inspired people of many different times and backgrounds.

What are your favorite hip-hop artists and Shakespearean works? How have they influenced your life today?

Post by Swathi P., Homework Assistant

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