"You Be Illin'," The Musical? Run-DMC to Bring Their Adidas to Broadway
Memo to all those who proclaimed that hip-hop is dead: It's far worse than that. The heart of rap is still beating, and it's giving life to an ungodly creation: a Broadway musical about Run-DMC. Lord help us, because your servant Reverend Run doesn't seem inclined to. He and DMC are checking out the other sucker MCs' Broadway musicals in preparation for bringing their Adidas to the Great White Way. As if Run's House weren't bad enough, the group that once rapped "I even made the devil sell me his soul" has ended up selling theirs. Somewhere, Jam Master Jay is turning over in his grave. But his tragic death will not be for naught—no doubt, it will provide the denouement for the "inspirational story," as Variety calls it, that any number of Lee-on-their-legs, Adidas-on-their-feet middle-American schlubs and schlubettes will line up to see. "Walk This Way" to your seats, yo.
Other hip-hop horror shows can't be far behind. Here are four more rap revivals the tourists would throw their hands up in the air for.
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
A jaunty historical satire set in a bizarro time and place when the notion of a black president was unthinkable, this parable-in-song uses forceful lyrics and bright, showstopping dance numbers to force us all to imagine an alternate universe where—"Don't Believe the Hype"—America isn't nice to black people.
People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (A Tribe Called Quest's Quest)
A classic coming-of-age road-trip musical with a twist: Just when our hero, Q-Tip, thinks he can return home to his beloved "Bonita Applebum," he tells his merry Tribe, "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo." Thus commences an Odyssey-like journey, which seeks to answer to the classic question "Can I Kick It?"
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Fans of Kung Fu Panda and ensemble rhyming alike will get a kick out of this martial-arts romp in Staten Island's Stapleton projects. Each of the nine cast members in the Clan takes a turn at the mic, and each time the audience will want to "Protect Ya Neck"--as these kids' shaolin shadowboxing skills "Bring Da Ruckus" and often spill off the stage.
Mama Said Knock You Out
In this muscular homage to Precious, a musically inclined Queens youth is encouraged not just to find his voice but to stand up for himself and battle the haters. He overcomes all, only to end up "Going Back to Cali" for greater tragedy: a leading role in NCIS: Los Angeles opposite Chris O'Donnell.
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