Just ask Homer (if he were still around). He’d tell you the only way his fans could pass down The Illiad and The Odyssey to their friends was by rhyming his lines. Now fast-forward a few millenniums to the Bronx, NY, and you get the birth of hip-hop.
Which is the same place Rap-Notes got started. The Bronx. My high school students were bored by Shakespeare (translation: this wasn’t relevant and it wasn’t worth the effort) so I decided to teach Hamlet by having them perform a rap I wrote of the entire story of the play. So I can honestly say, (with apologies to Lin Manuel Miranda) “Before Hamilton, there was Hamlet.”
From there, I decided to write additional Rap-Notes for Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, King Lear, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I also recorded them with the rappers, Noodle and Hennessy. The results: The book and e-book, Rap-Notes: Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits.