It was not that long ago that the idea of any young, white male attempting to rap might be cause for derision. Thankfully, in this enlightened era that has now all changed and indeed Charlie Dupre has since been labelled Barnes’ very own Eminem. Three years ago at Edinburgh, Dupre created The Stories of Shakey P, a reimagining of Shakespeare as rap to critical acclaim. Charlie and the Philosorappers attempts a similar process with some of history’s greatest thinkers, summarising their ethos and reproducing them as comic rap characters.
It is an interesting idea but rap and philosophy, however edited, do not make particularly happy bedfellows. The complexity of the subject matter, even lightly treated, still requires a hefty degree of concentration that is not really unlocked by trying to follow the lyrics of a rap stanza.
Dupre’s credentials as a rapper are certainly valid and he puts together some fun exercises that allow him to extemporise basic philosophical principals. Those familiar with Rene Descartes or David Hume may well find moments of extreme hilarity in seeing their heroes affectionately lampooned in this manner. The artist is under no illusions that his performance is anything other than a bit of fun, but this is one hybrid that may have serious trouble finding an audience.