Will.i.am & Jay-Z: The New Shakespeare?

Here’s a great way to get the youngs to pay attention: Compare some boring old thing to the new hotness. Michael Boyd, the artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, might have been going out on a limb when he said Jay-Z and Will.i.am are modern day Shakespeares, but it makes for a hell of a think piece. "The closest to Shakespeare in contemporary times are rappers," Boyd told the Daily Mirror. "[They use] that extraordinary quick fire, highly-organised, very witty metrical rhyming language which is brilliant in terms of consciously addressing the whole of society."

"The reason Shakespeare is still alive is that he couldn’t help being relevant. He was trying to be relevant," he said. "He needed to explain the world around him to himself. Rap is like that too.” Continuing, Boyd specifically pointed to Jay-Z as a poet adding to the collective lexicon, just like the Bard. “Good poetics comes out of a need. They are thinking how can you say this so that it is absolutely on the button, doesn’t get you in trouble and is memorable – not just for the ­audience. Shakespeare invented a great number of words. He joined words together in new ways enriching the vocabulary and finding new ways of talking.”

When you put it that way, it makes a lot of sense. It just seems doubtful that "I Gotta Feeling" will endure the same way as Hamlet, or even Titus Andronicus. Boyd also unveiled a few other theories he’s working on: "Jehovah, the Creator: How Odd Future’s Biblical Anarchy Speaks to the New Creation"; "Paradise Boss: Springsteen’s Miltonesque Journey Through Good and Evil"; and "Twain Team: Exploring America Through Choreographed Dances to ‘Round of Applause.’" Coming to a Tumblr near you! Alas, there are no plans to stage Cam’Ron’s Killa Season in the fall.

Share Button

Facebook Comments