I love Hip Hop. And I love Shakespeare. While on the surface these two art forms might seem incompatible at their core they are actually quite similar. It’s all in the wordplay. Both art forms appeal to the logophile in me. So you can only imagine how thrilled I was to come across a Shakespeare inspired drama based on some of my favourite Hip Hop artists.
‘Watch The Throne’ is a Shakespearean drama written by Lev Novak wrote that deals with the power struggles in Hip Hop. The play features Kanye West, Pusha T, Ludacris, J. Cole, Kim Kardashian, 2 Chainz and the big homie Jay Z amongst others.
‘Watch The Throne’ A Shakespearean Drama By Lev Novak
Act I, Scene I
Kanye is sitting upon the throne of rap. His trusty lieutenant, Pusha T, stands beside him. On the other side is Kim Kardashian.
As Jay-Z hath ascended
Past this mortal realm
The throne has become watched by those that would seek it for themselves
The guilds of rap grow restless, my Lord.
MMG of the north waits patient,
and YMCMB rake their coals in darkness
Even the fiefdoms seek their claim;
A$APs require attention, Asap,
Taylor Gang and TDE watch us from afar,
And, though I hate to report it,
There is a whispering of evil within the very halls of G.O.O.D
(J.Cole enters, triumphant)
I have long said the same,
So good to see you!
(The two embrace as Pusha watches)
Have you found success?
As befitting my princely status,
I have completed my first quest:
I have solidified our treaty with Kendrick of the West.
The West, slumbering
May threaten West
Nevermore, without Kendrick’s flow.
The two might prosper.
You have done well Jermaine.
Thank you, Yeezy.
But I have taken a name unto myself: J.Cole
Christened by Yeezus, I approve your nameship.
May pressure make you a diamond.
Like the Roc-a-fella’s before us.
(They look skyward)
Praised be J-Hova.
Praised be he.
Yet what, Cole?
It was odd;
As I left the palace gates,
I found myself without reinforcement.
Guest verses undelivered,
My album was assailed by critics.
I survived, and persevered but this;
(shows a scar on his face)
Is damage from Pitchfork.
The fool Don Glover
Found his head upon one.
‘Tis but a scratch.
You shroud your meaning, Pusha,
And speak of my scratch
As though it were not upon my flesh,
But rather a mark upon your records,
And thus fully inconsequential.
Though you say “Cole World”
You would be wise to be wary of heat;
heated words, of course.
Forgive the entendre.
You are modest in your estimation.
I fear no weapon.
But am wary of he who wields them.
(J.Cole leaves, an eye to Pusha.)
This is heavy news to ponder.
Pusha, I require my jester
(Pusha T summons 2 Chainz enters in his jester gear.)
my head is weary, as though two chains,
hung around my neck.
Tell me, oh Jester,
Is ruling yet a fool’s errand?
If it were, your majesty,
you’d have sent me in your stead.
(Ludacris enters, in all his finery.)
Hear, oh wise Ludacris,
That you are welcome in my presence.
Oh, wise Luda, hear how Jay-Z hath ascended
And left me to follow in his wake.
It is I, now, who must watch the throne
From King Richard the Ross and of Weezy F. Baby,
The occult swamp-man who threatens to devour us all.
Ay, and you have asked for my partnership.
A wise decision, Kanye.
For indeed, my clan of DTP is mighty
In the southern realms of this land,
We can rule this land as brothers.
Though shrouded in irony, we may keep the peace.
I cannot split my rule of this kingdom.
I ask not for your partnership, but for your service.
Wise Luda, you have called me,
Yet you play me for the fool.
I serve standing, never hunched like your jester.
He used to be a rapper, a man amongst us,
Though he ran from my service only to find your favor?
He hath 2 Chainz, oh Yeezy,
But no honor.
Aye, take me for a fool?
Perhaps, and that path be quite oft taken to my benefit.
They laugh, oh Luda, but I do so to the bank.
Why, for me to be forgotten or broke,
Why, that would be Ludacris.
(Ludacris draws his sword)
There shall be no violence in this halls.
Hear, Yeezy, how I work alone.
But for respect to you, I swear an oath of separation.
I will not be disturbing the peace.
Keep your clan-mates with you, but be wary, O Yeezy,
Some watch the throne
When they should watch their court.
Oh, my trusted advisor!
How might I handle a foe, oh Pusha?
In glorious battle, with the colors of banners
And the roar of my warriors, the clashing of weapons and diss-tracks-
What a spectacle!
But tell me, Pusha, who radiates a glory near mine?
None, my lord.
Indeed, Pusha, and this worries me greatly.
Jigga, the king before me,
rests amongst the greats
Having defeated countless foes.
But who may I face?
Who can match my luster?
One may exist.
You are kind, Pusha
But I doubt that.
Still, as I pursue greatness.
Can I trust you,
To do what is necessary?
By Biggie’s Ghost,
I pledge my loyalty, now and forever,
To the ‘Ye.
I sense in you the truth.
I retire gladly, Pusha.
I leave to examine leather skirts.
For truth, I am loyal to the ‘Ye.
The yeyo, cocaine, sweet white.
Hard white, they call you,
though you be soft in my embrace.
Kilo’s, soft as pillows,
how I long for you in my bed.
Caine, oh Caine!
It is for you, my love,
that I will ascend the throne myself.
Forgive me, Pac! Forgive me, Biggie!
I betray for love, of the game and of the game.
As Cain killed Abel, I too am able for ‘Caine.
See how I have come to loath the man Yeezy
For now the throne is watched
Observed by paparazzi
Bloggers and more
Nerds, hovering over us
Casting a shadow over rhymes
This doth provoke in me a malice
And such as Malice is my brother
I find it inseparable from my motivation.
That I may avenge Clipse with clips
And take the throne I have earned.
(Offstage he hears the click of heels)
Yea, for the strumpet approaches
I must keep my plans disguised.
Yuch, I say, Yuch,
For the Kardashian comes quick.
hath thou seen my husband?
Kris Humphries is out,
Rouge! My husband, my love,
the famed and talented-
Yeezy. Oh Pusha, push me not.
My plans move beyond you,
With rapid steps measured in weeks and years.
My wealth exceeds yours, as does my wit.
You pushed cocaine?
I too sold poison-
Loved, loathed and consumed
By every fiend across this country.
Do not doubt me, Pusha.
Keeping up with the Kardashians is a fools errand.
Such that your viewers are. I am inclined to agree.
You are an ass, Pusha
And one that rivals even my own.
(Kim moves beyond Pusha to the kingly chamber, her eyes at the mirror behind the throne)