Grandmaster Gregory in da hizzouse
August 12, 2007 12:33 AM   Subscribe

The Pardoner's Tale - adapted to rap by Baba Brinkman, who has been rapping Chaucer tales for a few years now. He's also released The Rap Canterbury Tales, a book that presents raps side by side with Chaucer's original Middle English. Both video and book are illustrated graffiti-style by his brother Erik. Discussed in a previous post by fatllama on hip hop classics.
posted by madamjujujive (18 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
This is brilliant. I adore Canterbury Tales, it ranks up there in my top 5 re-read every couple of years books, and the bits that I've heard so far do fabulous justice to it. Fabu Find as always MJ3!
posted by dejah420 at 1:06 AM on August 12, 2007

I guess the difference between the two is that you can't understand what the hell one of them is going on about, and the other is written in Olde English.
posted by seanyboy at 4:02 AM on August 12, 2007

and the other is written in Olde English.

I thought it was Middle English.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 4:30 AM on August 12, 2007

Ha! I played The Pardoner in a school production of The Canterbury Tales in Grade 8. Just had to get that off my chest.
posted by Jimbob at 5:03 AM on August 12, 2007

(It is Middle English.)

Canterbury Tales and The Faerie Queene are two of the most-feared books by high-school English students, but they're also two of the best compendia of episodic storytelling in our language. Once you learn how to read them, something just cracks open.

Thanks for this.
posted by mykescipark at 5:48 AM on August 12, 2007

Damn, that's a great adaptation. The style reminds me of Buck 65.
posted by Drexen at 6:05 AM on August 12, 2007

I thought Chaucer was the name of one of the GOP guys running for president. Thanks for clearing this up.
posted by Postroad at 6:14 AM on August 12, 2007

different tastes for different folks. How do you feel about The Lion King turned into a Broadway musical from the classic film? Or Sartre's The Flies, based upon Oresteian trilogy (Greek classic)? or Hirspray--first a film, then a play on Broadway, and now a new film (remake)? Or Orson Wells' Julius Caesar (by Shake.) done up with Nazi uniforms? or a piece of the bible called Jesus Christ, Superstar etc etc
posted by Postroad at 7:14 AM on August 12, 2007

Holy crap, drexen, you're right - that sounds *exactly* like Buck 65.
posted by notsnot at 7:46 AM on August 12, 2007

My high school English class didn't fear it, but that may be because our teacher started us off with a selection of Chaucerian fart jokes.
posted by DU at 7:50 AM on August 12, 2007

Wow, that is long, but quite good. I really like the style of the artwork, as well.
posted by absalom at 8:56 AM on August 12, 2007

mykescipark: High school students read The Faerie Queene? I remember reading Chaucer in high school, but it wasn't until grad school that I read Spenser. Of course, maybe I just had a crappy education.

Anyway, last fall when I was TAing for a literature survey course for 2nd & 3rd year undergrad English majors, I think FQ was the 2nd most feared and disliked text, next only to Piers Plowman.
posted by papakwanz at 10:06 AM on August 12, 2007

kwanz, we were introduced to FQ alongside Canterbury and the Decameron in my junior year of high school, but it was a strictly cursory glance - hardly the intensive, two-semester-long dive I took with it in my undergrad years. It's still one of my favorite books, although admittedly intimidating at first blush.
posted by mykescipark at 10:26 AM on August 12, 2007

Love the Cantebury Tales (hum along with me: "Whan that April with his showres soote The droughte of March hath perced to the roote...")

This rap? Not so much. Like MC Paul Barman grudging out an inevitable public service sentence.

Muddling one's way through the original Middle English retains for me the poetry and... well, rhyme scheme. Rap that out and I'll pour my mutchkin on the ground in your honor.

/not linguisticist
posted by abulafa at 11:17 AM on August 12, 2007

I like the idea, and most of the execution, but I just can't get past the guy's voice. It's thin, and weak, and punctuated too much by desperate gasping for breath. To me, the voice for this ought to be rich and booming, more drunken bard and less 20th century nerd.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:26 AM on August 12, 2007

How do you feel about The Lion King turned into a Broadway musical from the classic film?

Julie Taymor can do no wrong.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:45 PM on August 12, 2007

My graduate degree was in Medieval Lit (that was the focus). Chaucer my drug of choice. I like the idea of making him accessible to high school kids, but I've managed same by talking about the farts and the naughty jokes (or just get them talking about the wife of bath's queynte). The rap removes the beauty of the language for me, but still good to see Chaucer getting some love.
posted by pywacket at 4:26 PM on August 12, 2007

I don't know that I think the goal of this is making Chaucer accessible to high school kids. It seems to me more a goal for people who already like and appreciate Chaucer and want to be tickled a bit by seeing it tweaked into a modern context.

Of course, it obliges me to point out that while Chaucer may have had some lyrical skillz, Shakespeare was, like, the ultimate rapper.
posted by papakwanz at 4:40 PM on August 12, 2007

« Older Of Muppets and Men   |   Celebrate His Entire Catalog Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments