Hip-Hop & Shakespeare? > Akala
Akala demonstrates and explores the connections between Shakespeare and Hip-Hop, and the wider cultural debate around language and it’s power.
MOBO award-winning hip hop artist ‘Akala’ is a label owner and social entrepreneur who fuses rap/rock/electro-punk with fierce lyrical storytelling (think Wu-Tang Clan and Aphex Twin meets Rage Against The Machine). With Akala’s latest record, convention-defying album DoubleThink, Akala has proven himself as one of the most dynamic and literate talents in the UK. Inspired by the likes of Saul Williams and Gil Scott Heron, Akala has also developed a reputation for stellar live performances with his drummer Cassell ‘TheBeatmaker’ headlining 5 UK tours and touring with everyone from Jay-Z, Nas & Damian Marley, M.I.A. and Christina Aguilera to Siouxsie Sue and Richard Ashcroft, appearing at numerous UK / European and US festivals (Glastonbury, Big Chill, Wireless, V, Hove and SXSW) also partnering with the British Council promoting British arts across Africa, Vietnam (the first rapper to perform a live concert in Vietnam), New Zealand and Australia. In 2009, Akala launched the ‘The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company’, a hotly-tipped music theatre production enterprise which has sparked worldwide media interest since its inception. Previous collaborators include: British actor; Sir Ian McKellen, actor/musician; Colin Salmon and Royal Shakespeare Company Voice Director; Cicely Berry. 2011 sees the launch Akala’s latest endeavour ‘Illa State Productions’ to garner his budding scriptwriting talent alongside TV presenting and as a music composer for various TV and Film projects.
Also, here’s another TEDX which discusses the connection between Shakespeare and Hip-hop featuring MC Lars.
Andrew Robert MacFarlane Nielsen, more commonly known as MC Lars, has experienced first-hand the power and influence of music. Discovering hip-hop for the first time as a geeky, out-of-place teen he went on to study English at Stanford. A pioneer of “nerdcore hip-hop” and the self-proclaimed originator of “post-punk laptop rap,” his music videos such as “Ahab” “White Kids Aren’t Hyphy,” “MC Lars’ iGeneration,” and “This Gigantic Robot Kills” have swept YouTube with their nerdy charm. Lars is now exploring how to use hip-hop to teach teens literature and creativity.