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
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.