Charlie and the Philosorappers

If someone had told me months ago that, not only was I going to see a man perform rap battles, beat poetry and strange silent skits based on philosophy, but that I was actually going to absolutely love it - I think I would only have laughed half as hard as I did during the performance of Charlie and the Philosorappers. In a single hour, Charlie Dupré took myself and the rest of the audience on a journey through the history of human reflective thought which was knee-slappingly funny, genuinely arresting and, in the end, surprisingly beautiful.

Against all odds, Charlie and the Philosorappers is a unique and brilliant performance

There’s no denying Dupré’s skill with the spoken word. He spits bars with force and finesse, combing and warping every syllable until it’s something more akin to an audial dance, rather than poetry. His stage presence was undeniable, and yet he approached audience interaction with a genuineness and wit which made even the space between his hip-hop set pieces just as entertaining.

Although, to simply call them set pieces is to afford them half-credit: this was a hip-hop lecture. Not only did I leave having learnt a dozen new words, I felt I actually had a better understanding of the works of Hume, Nietzsche and Descartes. Even better, he provided a reading list, so that anyone inspired by his performance might become more familiar with the figures he renders with loving irreverance. But the performance was not without fault. Although most of it was brilliantly funny (a rap battle between God and Richard Dawkins especially so), certain skits went on for too long, and their jokes fell far short of expectation - sometimes simply due to some of the shrill, irritating voices Dupré chooses for a select few characters. And, although his fast rap in French accent was impressive, often the words sounded garbled or smashed together due to the change in cadence.

But against all odds, Charlie and the Philosorappers is a unique and brilliant performance - if you’re a hip-hip fan, free thinker or just a lover of the spoken word, be sure to check it out. 

Reviews by J W Close

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A head-stretching hip hop voyage through the history of thought. Join Charlie as he begins his university degree and morphs into the plethora of philosophers he meets along the way. Featuring David Hume and his abandoned Self, an over-confident chicken, the ultimate stand-off between Dawkins and God, and a host of rhythmic ruminators rapping their way into the fabric of reality. Answers not included.