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(Mirror.co.uk)   A Shakespeare expert thinks the likes of Will.i.am and Jay Z are modern day Bards. "The man that hath no music in himself"   (mirror.co.uk) divider line 5
    More: Silly, Royal Shakespeare Company, Jay Z, live concerts, artistic director  
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1074 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 11 Apr 2012 at 3:44 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-04-11 01:04:55 PM
1 votes:
I'll give you Jay-Z who is actually a genius. But not Will.i.am, as he's a hack. He's more like bad Restoration drama (as if there's any other kind).
2012-04-11 07:01:46 AM
1 votes:
Jay-Z? Yeah, I can see that.

Will.i.am? fark TO THE NO.
2012-04-11 04:50:28 AM
1 votes:
There is a reason good rap (not the popular stuff) is far better than synthtic pop schlock, and that has to do with the fact that it requires paying attention to the way language works and exploiting it. Has your pop song run into a rhythm problem? Insert an "Oh!" or a "Baby!" until you get to the next line, then move on. Did you mess up the rhythm of the next line of your rap song? Start over!

Not that rap is high art by any stretch, of course. Shakespeare was a linguistic genius, he was well-read, and he had a few things to say about humanity that were profound enough to last hundreds of years (though largely because he said them so well). You can't reduce Shakespeare to rap simply because poetry and rap both take rhythm into account. (By that argument, we could be comparing Shakespeare and opera for no reason.) Similarities can be superficial.

This is especially true when many rap songs cheat to achieve their rhythm by disrupting the natural stress patterns. Rap is also usually a bit too strongly married to its rhythmic framework to achieve some of the heights of Shakespearean linguistic virtuosity. Do a great soliloquy in rap format and it loses quite a bit because the performer has to adjust his acting to say the next syllable when the drum machine, not the Muse, tells him to, and the overall structure of rap songs (even the good ones) is fairly simplistic. You always return, musically, to the same place every so many bars, and that's sort of the point of the form. You can't do Shakespeare (or even opera) that way. All popular music suffers from this, of course. (Maybe not metal, but I have trouble getting past the painful instrumentation long enough to enjoy metal.) Even the best pop songs tend to be about four or five bars of music that are usually variations on something Chuck Berry or Muddy Waters wrote, and those bars are repeated for three and a half minutes.

This is not to say that rap is bad; some of it is legitimately interesting in its own way, and rap is definitely poetry, albeit usually bad poetry. It breaks out of the pop music doldrums a bit through having lyrics worth the length of the song, so it's harder to reduce it to three bars played in a loop. (The music part tends to take away a bit of freedom without adding much of value, though, so I have to wonder if rap wouldn't be better if it dropped the music entirely.) Comparing it to Shakespeare, though, is like comparing almost anything else to Shakespeare. Only Shakespeare comes out looking good. I don't even like comparing great poets (Rilke, Goethe, Schiller, and, um, maybe some non-German people) to Shakespeare, because those comparisons leave me pessimistic about poetry.

Worse than reducing Shakespeare to rap, though, is reducing Shakespeare to Stephen King, a guy who tells popular stories but has a tin ear and nothing profound to say. Literature is about the art of language use, not just the pleasure of storytelling. Nerds often don't get that because their sci-fi books, while compelling in their own way, are almost universally poorly written.
MBK [TotalFark]
2012-04-11 04:33:01 AM
1 votes:
I won't argue against him. Shakespeare was an entertainer, someone who wrote plays for profit (and not for "high art"). He used puns, clever sayings, made up words, talked a lot about women and sex, and used words to tell a story and paint a picture. Some rap songs do that. Will they stand the test of time? In 400 years, will Jay-Z still be listened to on...whatever form of media is out there in 400 years? Who knows. The best will continue to live on, the bad will die, and in the end, we'll be destroyed when the Sun expands and devours the Earth.

But I bet there will some people in this thread who claim rappers aren't talented and useless and write songs only to make money.

(Personally, I think these people just don't like black people, but this isn't the time or place).
2012-04-11 03:35:14 AM
1 votes:
Being a "Shakespeare Expert" probably doesn't pay very well.

1) Make outlandish claim

2) ...

3) Profit!
 
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