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Hip-Hop and Shakespeare

Do you associate William Shakespeare with hip-hop?

Most major cultures, movements and ways of life have been influenced by a wide range of people and events from the past. Sometimes these influences can surprise you. Let’s take hip-hop for example.

Hip-hop originated in the South Bronx, New York, in the 1970s. It started when a DJ, named DJ Kool Herc, started mixing existing tracks with his own “shouts”. Hip-hop is made up of four different aspects: MCing, DJing, breakdancing and graffiti art.

Akala on the influence of Shakespeare on hip-hop (above)

Hip-hop emerged from a mixture of other genres that came before it, like blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll. However, if we take a look even further back and step out of the 20th century, we can find other influences that are arguably just as important, perhaps even more so.

Yes, it’s William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s influence on the English language is so great that there is no doubt that it would have subconsciously made an impact on hip-hop. In terms of rhythm, Shakespeare’s writing is easily comparable to hip-hop.

The links between hip-hop and Shakespeare are fascinating. Check out the two videos featured in this article for an entertaining take on the greatest English writer of all time.

MC Lars on the hip-hop of Shakespeare (above)

So, there you have it. Shakespeare and Kanye have more in common than you would have originally thought.

Source(s): TEDx Talks