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
  • Air travel a leap of faith for passengers WASHINGTON (AP) — Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel. Even after a week of multiple tragedies in worldwide aviation, "Ther

    July 25, 2014

  • Pot may be legal, but homeowner agreements can ban DENVER (AP) — Pot may be legal in some states — but the neighbors don't have to like it. Marijuana and hemp have joined wacky paint colors and unsightly fences as common neighborhood disputes facing homeowners' associations. Though a few HOAs have wi

    July 25, 2014

  • Central American leaders convening at White House WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will urge Central American leaders to help slow the influx of unaccompanied children fleeing their countries for the United States, even as Congress remains deeply divided over proposals to stem the crisis at

    July 25, 2014

  • Little sunlight as Obama raises super PAC dollars WASHINGTON (AP) — For years President Barack Obama railed against the surge of unlimited spending flowing into American political campaigns, arguing that average voters were being shut out of a secretive system that lets special interests bankroll el

    July 25, 2014

  • Prosecutor: Man faces charges in hospital shooting DARBY, Pa. (AP) — A man who authorities say fatally shot a caseworker at a hospital complex near Philadelphia and was then shot by his psychiatrist remains listed in critical condition. District Attorney Jack Whelan said Richard Plotts would be arrai

    July 25, 2014

  • Social Security's $300M IT project doesn't work WASHINGTON (AP) — The Social Security Administration has spent nearly $300 million on a new computer system to handle disability claims, but the agency can't get it to work. And officials can't say when it will. Six years ago, Social Security embarke

    July 24, 2014

  • JFK returns to old look in new collectors' coins WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — President John F. Kennedy is getting his old look back on new collectors' coins. The slain president's profile debuted on the half dollar 50 years ago, and the image was subtly tweaked and sharpened in the 1990s. Now the U.S.

    July 24, 2014

  • FAA lifts ban on US flights to Tel Aviv airport WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel. The end of the ban, which the agency had imposed out of concern for the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets, was effective at 11:45 p

    July 24, 2014

  • Man run over by own truck during road rage GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A man in Florida apparently got a dose of road rage karma when police say he was run over by his own pickup truck after getting out to bang on another driver's window. It happened Tuesday evening in Gainesville, Florida. The

    July 24, 2014

  • New Jersey sues over Florida pizza shop logo TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants a Florida pizza shop to pay a big toll for using a logo similar to the Garden State Parkway's green and yellow signs. The agency sued Jersey Boardwalk Pizza Tuesday in federal court over th

    July 24, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National