The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

August 30, 2013

Hip-hop version of 'Othello' resonates behind bars

(Continued)

And Kevin Fields, a third inmate, also 19, saw the play as a cautionary tale. "You can't affect what other people do but you can affect what you do," he says. The show was an eye-opener in another way: "In hip-hop," he adds, "I finally found out what Shakespeare really is."

So is it really Shakespeare when Othello briefly dons a blond wig and joins a faux backup girl singing group a la Motown to belt out "It's a Man's World" (shades of the James Brown classic)? And are lines such as "''Othello wouldn't listen, He had crazy tunnel vision" a true reflection of the Bard's greatness?

Absolutely, says GQ.

"Shakespeare was a master storyteller who used musical language and poetry," he says, and the same is true of the best rappers. "So at the very basic level they're doing the exact same thing. ... You're using poetic devices like alliteration and repetition and onomatopoeia. ... They're very similar art forms despite how different they tend to be judged."

The Q brothers say they have chatted with Shakespeare scholars and others who arrive at their shows skeptical and leave impressed. "We're treating the work with respect and we think he was a genius," GQ says. "But our philosophy is you want to live on as an art form 500 years later, you can't do it the same way."

In fact, GQ says, if Shakespeare were around nowadays, "I think he'd be doing this. He'd be a rapper."

The Q brothers are now working on a hip-hop version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and plan to eventually create hip-hop translations of all of Shakespeare's works, including "A Mad-Summer Night's Dream."

They not only admire the Bard, they also think their words measure up to his standards.

"Without trying to sound like we're tooting our own horn," GQ says, "I would like to think that at our best moments ... it's like seeing great Shakespeare in his time."

Text Only
AP National
  • Senate likely to come up short on border bill WASHINGTON (AP) — A bill to deal with the immigration surge at the border appears headed for procedural defeat in the Senate as lawmakers trade blame over their inaction on the crisis. Days ahead of Congress' five-week summer recess, Senate Democrats

    July 30, 2014

  • House set to take up $17B VA overhaul bill WASHINGTON (AP) — With a new Veterans Affairs secretary in place and an August recess looming, Congress is likely to move quickly to approve a compromise bill to refurbish the VA and improve veterans' health care. The House could vote on the $17 bill

    July 30, 2014

  • Trafficking bust reveals worries over missing kids WASHINGTON (AP) — When FBI agents and police officers fanned out across the country last month in a weeklong effort to rescue child sex trafficking victims, they pulled minors as young as 11 from hotel rooms, truck stops and homes. Among the 168 juve

    July 30, 2014

  • The man responsible for Hilton's grand turnaround McLEAN, Va. (AP) — Nearly every weekend, Chris Nassetta is cooking in his family's oversized kitchen, outfitted with two commercial-grade refrigerators, three sinks and a deep fryer. These aren't small meals. Between his wife, six daughters, friends,

    July 30, 2014

  • What's a group selfie? Usie (pronounced uss-ee) NEW YORK (AP) — What do you call a group selfie? An usie, of course! As in "us." Pronounced uss-ee, rhymes with fussy. "Usies are a growing trend that I think have far more social value than selfies," said Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a professor of mark

    July 30, 2014

  • With Israel at war, US lawmakers give full support WASHINGTON (AP) — As the war in Gaza escalates, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military campaign against Hamas. Many even have criticized the administration's effort to

    July 29, 2014

  • Abuse suspect dead; two marshals, NY policeman hurt NEW YORK (AP) — A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a boy was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a small smoke shop in one of New York's most bustlin

    July 29, 2014

  • Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute. These consumers fall behind on credit cards or hospital bill

    July 29, 2014

  • Despite good news, benefit programs face problems WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite some good news, Medicare and Social Security still face long-term financial problems as millions of baby boomers reach retirement. Social Security's disability program is already in crisis as it edges toward the brink of ins

    July 29, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR ENTERS FOURTH WEEK — DURATION, DEATHS MATCH FIRST CONFLICT Heaviest bombardment in Gaza yet as Israeli aircraft, tanks and nav

    July 29, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National