Filed under: Biters In The City,BK All Day,Features,Not Your Average,Old Moufs,Radio Interviews
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
So I was listening to some AM radio in the car for some reason (i.e. my ipod battery ran out) and caught the last part of a conversation with Adam Bradley, an Associate Professor of Literature at the University of Colorado who wrote a book called Book of Rhymes about the connection between rap and poetry. Hardly the most exciting premise, but after enduring the usual bullshit about the difference between rap and hip-hop he was actually posed a decent question by the interviewer, which resulted in this jewel being dropped:
Who is the contemporary Shakespeare of the rap world?
Adam Bradley: It’s a heavy mantle for anyone to bare, but I think the one who could probably do it the best would be Jay-Z – and I say that both for the longevity of his career but also the range of his subject matter. As he’s evolved as an individual his music has evolved to reflect that. So while he was rhyming on his first album about street life, about dealing drugs, about all kinds of nefarious activities, on his latest album he’s rhyming about being married to Beyonce, he’s rhyming about life as a mogul, as an entrepreneur. As a visionary in business as well as music. So that kind of breadth, that kind of development, I think is a sign of an artist who is willing to grow. Willing to grow even past his own popularity, past the time when people expect a particular thing of him – and yet he finds new ways of appealing to a new public, and that’s precisely what Shakespeare did if you look across his body of work. He never stayed the same. Whether it’s tragedies or histories or comedies, he’s always shifting and expanding.
Sure, I may not be the president of the Hova Stan Club but I have to admit that the Prof. has a pretty strong case. Don’t forget, William Shakespeare wasn’t highbrow in his day – he was penning the stage equivalents of Summer blockbusters, knocking out those hits. But it wasn’t until years after his death that he was declared to be “the greatest writer in the English language…Shakespeare was never revered in his lifetime, but he received his share of praise”. S. Carter may never make a song as great as ‘Halftime’, but – like it or not – history may just prove him to be the G.O.A.T. after all.
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