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G&B: Apologies to Sting

It's been a blast, folks. The Worlds Most Popular Podcast is signing off. Truth to be told, there's not enough hours in the day for ...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

our kids: local emcee makes reading cool

As a former hip-hop promoter in the Toronto area, I was able to make friends with a bunch of the unsigned hype in the city. Since I first met many of them over a decade ago, all of them have made moves in the city to evolve and progress their selected craft – be it DJing, Emceeing, Graffiti or Breakdancing. One of these esteemed homeboys is MC Abdominal, also known as Abs. Recently, Andy, another alias Abs goes by, was asked to make up a hip-hop version of the most classic pieces of literature. The first one he tackled was The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The philosophy behind this movement is that it has been scientifically proven that music helps people remember more. Furthermore, they’re also doing this in hopes that if kids hear a hip-hop dude speaking about the book, they’ll want to pick it up and read it too.

The cover of a 1979 movie version of The Scarlet Letter, directed by Rick Hauser. So far so good. The crew has been picked up by American outfit SparkNotes to do a “whole slew of songs,” as Andy explains in a video made by TVO (TV Ontario). The site wants them to do fiction books aimed at high school students. This new concept should’ve been around since I was in school. I know, as a high school student and impressionable hip-hop mind, if my favorite rapper were to talk about some literature in his songs, I would have read more instead of tossing the books aside and sketching my next piece in my notepad. No matter what type of student you have at home, or what type of school they go to, this new endevour will help them. I know for me, coming from a Waldorf school that surrounded students in Shakespeare education, it would have been ideal. Moreover, maybe this will also show skeptical parents that hip-hop is more than what they hear on the radio, and they’ll give it a chance.

Here’s a short interview with Abdominal talking about The Scarlet Letter.