The last 20 years of hip-hop history have been pretty dramatic. You’ve had assassinations, shifting alliances and constant battles for supremacy. Writer Lev Novak noticed this, and decided to re-imagine the world of rap as a pair of Shakespearean dramas, Watch The Throne and Watch The Sequel.
Throne starts off with King Kanye preparing to leave the mortal realm and join his predecessors Jay Z, Biggie, and Tupac in the realm of the rap Gods, causing his potential successors to feud. Its highlights include King Kanye saying “I leave to examine leather skirts,” and Pusha T, his second in command, delivering this monologue:
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.
The Sequel, which is arguably more of a prequel, is where things get really interesting. The three-act play starts with new King Drake troubled by nightmares. He asks the hooded prophets of Wu-Tang to show him the struggles of the old gods, Tupac, Biggie, and Jay Z, in their fight for supremacy in the ancient era of the mid- to late ’90s. From there, it delves into conspiracy theory, with Jay Z shooting both Biggie and Tupac, and Suge Knight acting as a rock music sleeper agent, trying to take down rap from the inside. It also has this rather on the nose assessment of Lil Wayne’s career arc:
Aye, Nasir, but this yet is the tragedy:
As a Martian, I shall Benjamin Button.
My start will be rough,
My middle gold,
And my end, sad and slow,
Shall drift to teenage nonsense,
About skateboards and eating pussy.
Truer words have never been written.