The Canterbury Tales Remixed

by Baba Brinkman

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Necrojoker thumbnail
Necrojoker What can I say about Baba Brinkman? He inspires tangential learning while giving a direct education through his music. Granted he does tell us that we "Can't get an education through rap music" and encourages us to "Go read. Go read. GO REEEAAAD", but that's what I love about him. He sings about what he loves and shares that love with anyone who'll listen.

Gives this album a listen and check out all of the Rap Guides that he's done! Favorite track: Gilgamesh.
Mike Reid
Mike Reid thumbnail
Mike Reid My appreciation for classics, oral traditions, and, yes, even hip-hop, went up 200% upon hearing this album. Baba Brikman, I came for the evolution raps and stayed because you're awesome. Favorite track: Beowulf.
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Prologue 01:19
Prologue Storytelling began fireside, In Africa, with hunter gatherer tribes. It’s deeper than the Tales we have from Canterbury; In fact, it’s woven into the fabric of humanity. For thousands of years there was only one news source: The bard, the griot, the troubadour. The master of ceremonial rhymes and meters, From the fireside vibe to the hi-fi speakers, Just applying the skill of words. That’s how the bard would thrill the villagers, And how today’s MCs kill a verse: verbal artistry. Biggie Smalls, Eminem, and Geoffrey Chaucer fathered me. Masters of storytelling, more compelling Than sit-coms brought to you by the father of Tori Spelling. But before we get to Chaucer, I want to share a little piece That’s much older – it’s from the ancient Middle East. ‘Cause this is bigger than me; it’s bigger than you, it’s bigger than rap. It’s bigger than fingers on triggers and bigger than gangsters slingin’ the crack. That’s just the latest version of an ancient story, The rage of warriors hungry for fame and glory. I’ll show you how deep it goes by opening With the oldest story that people even know. I mean, thousands of years before the Anglo-Saxons; It’s brought to you now through the magic of Penguin Classics.
Gilgamesh 11:43
Gilgamesh Run your fingers over the stones of this ancient city These temples of worship and places of business And picture them falling into desolation Just drifting sand and standing walls and vacant buildings You can’t take it with you where you’re going But someone who comes here in five thousand years Exploring might unearth a recording That tells the world your story Some confabulation of words stored in a subterranean Purgatory could well emerge to tell those Who still dwell on earth that you were born And that your works were worth reporting Well this is the first story; not the oldest Told by troubadours, but the oldest in written form ‘Cause who can say whether troubadours don’t improve Their sources, of course the story’s origins are oral But it was preserved for thousands of years In Akkadian verse tablets and Sumerian cuneiform Preserved like Cuban cigars in a humidor So we can be sure that it’s true to its source Not a folk story transformed in ten thousand villages But a relic of the ancient world, preserved with diligence The oldest narrative that still exists The epic of Gilgamesh When the gods created Gilgamesh, they gave him a perfect body Like Arnie when his films were still impressive Like Conan the Barbarian, physical brilliance Like sculpted steel as flesh The gods endowed him with strength and courage and fine Features; like a work of art, perfectly designed Brad Pitt would have looked liked a turd beside him He was one third mortal, and two thirds divine And as an aside, I guess the Sumerians when this poem was written Were not aware of chromosome division Or Mendellian genetics; no organism That reproduces sexually is two-thirds of anything Maybe they calculated paternity as a percentage Of the number of men that the mother had been with before she got pregnant Which is the case with certain indigenous South American Indians Increasing the incentive for the men to collaborate on parental investment But when the gods are involved these calculations are irrelevant Because they’re practically omnipotent And Gilgamesh was a mortal man with two-thirds god genes In the Sumerian catalogue of kings He’s listed as the fifth ruler of Uruk after the flood came And washed away all things So our story begins with Gilgamesh in charge of the peace And the people of Uruk, not pleased And why were they less than pleased? Because Gilgamesh was an extreme sex fiend To put it simply, he deflowered every virgin And slept with the wife of every peasant and the daughter Of every nobleman whenever he felt the urge and For the people of Uruk, this was a heavy burden In fact, the original version only says That the men found it a heavy burden Which begs the question: was the consent of these women earned Or did he just take it? My inclination is to stay with the basics Nowhere is he referred to as “Gilgamesh the Rapist” Which means he had game and the men were jealous haters But don’t these questions always plague men of status Was he Bill Clinton-esque or Tiger Woods with a waitress? Or was he Roman Polanski or Mike Tyson dangerous? I can’t possibly say from these ancient pages But I’d prefer to work with a sympathetic protagonist So in my version, he gets the benefit of the doubt Gilgamesh impressed the women with his physical prowess But his sexual endowments were hateful to his people So they huddled in their houses and prayed for relief To the gods, like “Please, make him an equal!” And the gods heard their pleas, and created Enkidu Now, Enkidu was a wild man He was Tarzan of the highlands His body was covered in hair in fine mats He knew nothing of civilization and finance A feral child, he ran with the Ibex And ate nothing but plants, plus he was massive He had this habit of releasing animals from traps And snares whenever they got captured And eventually one of the trappers ran back to The city to ask Gilgamesh for some answers He said: “There is this massive hairy man Who keeps smashing the traps we set in mountain pastures He’s either half an animal himself, or he’s an animal rights activist But either way I’m at my wits’ end, any suggestions?” And Gilgamesh said, “Yeah! Here’s what you do You go to Ishtar’s temple and you get a prostitute” Now, Ishtar was the Goddess of love, and destruction too And her priestesses offered free sex to the multitude Maybe religion is something even Christopher Hitchens Would’ve gotten into if that’s what it offered you So Gilgamesh said, “Yeah, you get this temple ho This child of pleasure, and you get her to go with you Down to the watering hole, and you get her to take off her clothes And this wild man, well, he won’t be wild no mo…” Whoah, forgive the Ebonic Inflections, but I just always wanted To use the word “ho” in an Epic Anyway, it happened exactly as Gilgamesh predicted Enkidu came down to the lake to take a drink And he saw this beautiful, soft, naked being This succulent, supple lady And she embraced him and… shwing! For six days and seven nights they lay by the lakeside Insatiably shagging, and it was his first time! But after when he tried to go back to his animal friends They just looked at him and fled Innocence lost Enkidu’s intimate frolics with the temple harlot Had cost him his connection with nature – never again Would his animal friends look at him as one of them And from that day forward he was civilized The prostitute fed him bread and wine And said “Enkidu, you are wise, why sleep in the wild When there’s shelter nearby?” And she took his hand And led him like a child to the shepherds’ tent And bade him step inside and she clothed and bathed him And he stayed with the shepherds for a stretch of time And protected them from lions But only for a while; soon word arrived From the city that there would be a great Sumerian wedding And Gilgamesh wasn’t the groom, but he was claiming his birthright The privilege of “First Night” That is, the right to be the first to fertilize The bride on her wedding night, just like The English did to the Scottish before 1305 When William Wallace kicked their asses, which served them right Well, the Sumerian groom was also quite perturbed by This incursion into his personal life and when word Of their plight reached Enkidu, he turned white With anger and traveled to Uruk, determined to fight The bridal bed was made A virgin lay within it, a trembling, nervous babe As Gilgamesh approached the house, determined to get laid But Enkidu stepped in front of him and blocked his way Clash of the Titans Their grasps were like vice grips as they grappled and tightened Their massive biceps, striving like angry bison Each man trying to gain the upper hand on his rival This was no battle of words, no east coast west coast Rivalry on wax, no Bad Boy / Death Row It was a wrestling match that cracked the keystones In the walls of Uruk and shook the ziggurats And the foundations of peoples’ homes But in the end, Enkidu was thrown Enkidu paid his respects to Gilgamesh for besting him And Gilgamesh was impressed that someone had even tested him Because every man he’d ever met until then was estrogen And from then on he treated Enkidu like his next of kin Now, Gilgamesh was obsessed with legacy building He wanted his name to be etched on bricks Where the names of famous men are written So he embarked on a campaign of adventurism Together they traveled to the Lebanese hills To the cedar forest, where they cut down trees And defeated Humbaba The evil demon guardian of those sweet resources Everyone tried to warn them off this quest People said: “Don’t go! The demon’s jaws are death When he says “humbaba, humbaba, hum-humbaba!” It’s like he has napalm for breath!” But no one could convince them to stop Because Gilgamesh believed he was on a mission from God Which is a sure way to get drawn into wars constantly Gilgamesh had a neo-con foreign policy And when they reached the demon, its defenses were weak They overpowered the demon with superior weaponry Humbaba surrendered, and fell to his knees Pleading like a pathetic refugee Just like Saddam, a fugitive in a spider hole Begging for mercy, but they were icy cold They executed the demon with three precise blows And turned their eyes towards home Other adventures awaited, Ishtar tried to Seduce Gilgamesh by offering herself to him naked But he rejected her and she flew into a jealous rage Determined to take vengeance She released the Bull of Heaven, a personified drought Which they defeated with a sword strike, somehow But Gilgamesh was really swelling with pride now So the gods said: “It’s time to take this guy down” They took the side route; they knew that Enkidu was His Achilles heel, because he was the key to his Feelings, so the gods decreed that Enkidu would Soon cease to exist, and he fell into a deep sickness And had a feverish dream vision of life after death In which he was a feathered wretch, sitting in pitch Darkness, staring ahead at an endless stretch Of time, and he cursed everyone he’d ever met Since he left the wilderness, the prostitute, the trapper, Everyone except for Gilgamesh Who stood by his side singing a death lament Until Enkidu’s final breath was spent For the rest of this story, Gilgamesh Is an emotional wreck in a state of perpetual mourning On a desperate quest to make his flesh immortal And it’s interesting, but it isn’t worth reporting It’s fragmented and repetitive and it never really finishes Although it does contain a fascinating parallel with Genesis It includes a Sumerian flood narrative Which the Bible must have just inherited Suffice to say, immortality eluded him Gilgamesh returned to Uruk in a state of disillusionment And lived out his life just like the rest of us do By having children and making civic improvements So he didn’t live forever, but he did leave descendants Which means the genes of Gilgamesh probably now Make up one tenth of one tenth of one percent of One hundred thousand current Middle Eastern residents The man was prolific, but if that’s immortality Well then it’s pretty frickin’ divisive And he left us his story, the Epic of Gilgamesh Which he chiseled into the walls of his city while building it And it tells us that this human obsession With living forever in the face of certain death Is something we’ve always wrestled with Which tells us something about what it is to be human If immortality exists, ladies and gentlemen Well then I guess, you’re listening to it
Pardoner 08:16
Pardoner Greed is the root of all evil In the days… Before violence was senseless and counterproductive There were three young friends, who were not to be fucked with Inner city thugs, what? Rough riders! Vancouver-after-losing-the-Stanley-Cup rioters Thriving on chaos, anarchistic Hedonistic, auto-cannibalistic Like a wolf lickin’ a blade stuck in the ice Thinkin’ it’s gettin’ a taste, life blood slippin’ away I’m talkin’ Bad Boys, throwin’ dice in the ghetto Drinkin’ liquor like it was a sacrifice to the devil Dancin’, gamblin’, gettin’ money illegally Through nothin’ but extortion and thievery I mean, these guys were bad-asses; women would bat lashes At ‘em, but mostly only for cash transactions Yeah, that happens; you can hate it or love it But if you hate it then you’re probably not acquainted with thuggin’ I’m not sayin’ it’s right; I’m just sayin’ it’s real If you’re chasin’ a thrill, it’s probably makin’ you feel Good, like takin’ a pill, and these guys were thrill-seekin’ Just three friends gettin’ ill every weekend Now I know what you’re thinking! Typical gangster rappers But these guys were Belgians, from medieval Flanders Think Boyz in the Hood; think Menace to Society Just, from the Middle Ages, of the Flemish variety That’s a human universal, groups of aggressive men We get it from Adam and Eve, from original sin That’s why people have these appetites, and that’s why Christ Had to be sacrificed, because of Adam’s apple bites Tragic, right? Jesus’ body torn to pieces Just ‘cause Adam and Eve were so naughty Kayne: Jesus walks with me! But too much preaching will leave you actively snoring So I’ll keep things moving and we’ll go back to the story It starts at a tavern one morning, where those three thugs Were still havin’ a stab at a party, three sheets drunk I mean, decent people were workin’; they’re still out drinkin’ Outside they heard the sound of a church bell ringing And saw a hearse bringin’ a fresh corpse for a funeral The bartender saw it too, and that’s when the news broke “It’s someone you know!” The bartender told them “It must have been a bad batch of somethin’ someone sold him ‘Cause yesterday he was here, just like, havin’ a beer And death took him while he sat in his chair, fuckin’ weird! I guess death is the only unbeatable enemy So we all better be ready to meet him eventually” The main thug took a swill of a bottle, full of bravado And went all Robert Rodriguez, Desperado Like, “That’s disrespect! I’m sick of death! You rock a bulletproof vest, shit, he’ll get you for cigarettes! I’m frickin’ vexed! You say I’ll never defeat him? I say let’s go find him – fuck it – I’m ready to meet him! The violence in me, reflect the violence that surrounds me So I say if death wants beef, he found beef!” Biggie: I’d rather go toe to toe with all of y’all Runnin’ ain’t in my protocol I guess he thought “death” was a person, silly thug People get some funny ideas when they’re really drunk The other two guys were like, “An eye for an eye We in this together, son, your beef is mine!” And that was it, three drunk angry men Stumbled out the door, lookin’ to capture death But they didn’t get far; they met this old guy in the forest Who looked like he was reppin’ the dark side of the force On the death star, I mean bags under his bloodshot eyes Like Charlie Sheen after hittin’ the meth hard Cracked skin like leather, frail and decrepit His whole body wrapped in dirty rags like a leper The old man waved and said, “Hey, what’s the word? You guys look kinda lost – can I help you get somewhere?” The main thug answered back, like: “Don’t touch me! You’re covered in crusty scabs! It’s disgusting! I think you’d better tell us how you’re even still alive” And the old man replied “Hey, I’m ready to die I’ve been knockin’ on heaven’s door since I was seventy-five I guess death just isn’t ready to let me inside!” That’s when the second thug stepped in like “Shut up! Death is your friend and you’re tryin’ to protect him from us! I can smell a set-up, so tell us where he is! Either you’re with us or you’re with the terrorist!” The old man laughed, like: “What? You’re lookin’ for death? Heh heh, well then that’s what you’ll get Death is right over there, really, go see I just left him like two minutes ago, under that oak tree” The thugs ran full speed, and when they arrive At the tree, they just stared, with bulging eyes Death wasn’t there, just a bag full of money Stacks of fifties and hundreds, and handfuls of twenties Suddenly lookin’ for death was forgotten, The main thug started schemin’ and plottin’ and slick talkin’ He said, “Listen, I’m a clever man, aight? I hatch plots And I can tell you, this much money attracts cops We need to get it back to a stash spot, you feelin’ me? But transporting this, by day? Liability! So let’s do this right y’all – we wait for nightfall And then we bring it home, and split it up with the lights off After that we can spend it, but for now we just chill So we need some booze, right? We got hours to kill Let’s draw straws, two of us can stand guard And we’ll send the third man off to get a bottle of cab sauv!” The plan sounded damn suave, the youngest Pulled the bad straw and ran off, and as soon as he was gone The main thug went on, like: “Aight, listen up I’m about to get you paid – what would you say If I told you we could split this up two ways, Are you game?” The second thug said “Okay But hold up, wait; what about our friend? What are we supposed to tell him? Know what I’m sayin’?” “We don’t say nothin,’” said the first, “we play rough and Straight rush him and stick a knife in his side – I ain’t bluffin’ If we can bring him down, and then we’ll be kingpins And never have to think about income again.” The second thug shrugged, like: “An eye for an eye We in this together, son, your beef is mine.” While in the meantime, the youngest was walkin’ back Thinkin’ “God damn, I want all that cash If I split it with those chumps, all I get is a third of it Nah, I’m gonna murder those two fuckin’ invertebrates This isn’t a game; this is a blood sport!” So first he hit the liquor store, then he hit the drugstore And told the pharmacist, “I got some rats in my basement I need some poison so I can set some traps and waste ‘em!” And pretty soon, he was walking back to the money tree With three bottles of wine, two poisoned and one clean And what happened next? Exactly what I said His two back-stabbing friends stabbed him to death Without a shred of remorse; the main thug said “Ay-yo, let’s have a quick drink before we get rid of the corpse!” And he grabbed a bottle, and he took a long swallow And he passed it over to the second thug to follow And it was all over, they went from boastin’ and braggin’ To drinkin’ rat poison cocktails, chokin’ and gaggin’ And no one was left standing – they all died Triple homicide, like a Biggie Smalls rhyme Three friends, lookin’ for death, headstrong Murder one another for cash, dead wrong Get rich or die trying – ask 50, he knows Like several different plot-lines of Quentin Tarantino’s Get the c-notes, the G’s, yo, the Benjamins That street ethos you get from medieval Belgians See, people don’t change, you’re all corrupted Fallen, that’s why y’all need spiritual sustenance Guidance, you know, like the kind I provide A ticket to heaven for $9.95 You like sex and violence? Just buy my record It provides the whole essence of the bible’s message Just like Kanye West, Jesus Walks with him That’s a multi-platinum gangster gospel record! See, you feed your soul and your bank balance replenishes So open your wallets up for heaven’s representatives! That’s why I wrote this rap, to help you get your soul back In return for cold cash, so don’t hold back Don’t even hold back one cent That’s the only way to avoid becoming part of the “one percent” Look, I know you’re lost, and all you want is redemption Well you can have it, for a small cost By accepting a pardoner’s blessing So step forward Money ready, and accept the blessing God told me it’s my destiny to be rich Just like pastor Rick Warren Or like Deepak Chopra Or like that chick who wrote The Secret Look, you’re takin’ a risk either way Either you risk a few dollars Or you risk your soul You can’t afford to risk your soul Just ask Pascal So hand your money over To me
Interlude A 00:45
Interlude A Now imagine you could have been there, Just over six hundred years ago, To witness Geoffrey Chaucer Reciting his version of that exact same story For the court, in Middle English. Here’s how it would have sounded back then: In Flaundres whilom was a compaignye Of yonge folk that haunteden folye, As riot, hasard, stewes, and tavernes. Whereas with harpes, lutes, and giternes, They daunce and pleyen at dees bothe day and night, And ete also and drinke over hir might, Thurgh which they doon the devel sacrifise, Withinne that develes temple in cursed wise.
Nun's Priest 07:30
Nun’s Priest Once upon a time There was a farmer who died And left a widow With a farmyard filled with animals And this is the story Of their time Okay, listen close, I’ll tell you how the story goes This one starts on a farm, with a poor widow Animal husbandry was how she won the meat That she put on the table for her young ones to eat With no man to bring home the bacon, or take a load off Her shoulder blades and carry weight when her bones were achin’ She was alone, with her daughters and her dairy cows Seven cluckin’ chickens and a rooster who was very proud His name was Chauntecleer, but let’s call him Chauncy He walked with a strut, and his style was kinda cocky Like Snoop Doggy Dogg, except he was a cock though A literal cock, with a bright red cox-comb A figurative cock too, he did what cocks do And so would you, with seven chickens to give cock to So don’t be player hatin’ on the roosters or the rap stars All they do is crow and pimp the chickens in the backyard And chickens only come once the method is perfected ‘Cause they want to hatch chicks with skills and work ethic So Chauncy was up to crow at five every mornin’ Cock-a-doodle-doo! He had more wives than a Mormon But one was his favorite, and she was his main chick Pertelote, Purdy for short, the most curvaceous Bootylicious chicken with the juiciest breasts and thighs Whenever she swished her hips by, he was hypnotized Yeah, the mischievous type, plus kind and generous Wicked sense of humor with a rare high intelligence And he was into it, plus his singin’ talents Kinda ruffled up her feathers, which kept things in balance So he was all for her, and she was all for him Though he still did his duty with his other six hens And that’s where the story begins, in the chicken coop Every night after dark they would all sit and roost And one night, with Purdy next to him on his perch Chauncy started moanin’ and groanin’ and waking up his birds Like “No... no... keep it away I’m afraid... I don’t wanna get eaten today!" And Purdy shook him and he woke up fast and screamed Like “Buck-uck!” And she said “Relax, it’s just a bad dream” And Chauncy said “I love you, Purdy, you’re the perfect chick But this was more than just a dream, please, interpret it! Okay, listen, I was walkin’ in the yard And I saw this beast; it was kinda like a dog But smaller, reddish brown, with a pointy snout And bushy tail; that’s what I was moaning about It was staring right at me, and its eyes were beady And I just had this feeling like it was trying to eat me!” And Purdy said “Yeah, um, that’s called a fox And it’s kinda common knowledge that foxes eat cocks And you want me to interpret your dream? What does it mean? It means you’re acting like a pussy if you ask me C’mon, grow a pair, it’s just us, there’s no one here And it’s tough to stay in love with a wuss who’s always scared Look, there’s nothing to fear from nightmares, the monsters Are a manifestation of your subconscious; it’s nonsense Now stop this... Wait, maybe your vision is true It reveals something deep: the inner bitch in you It’s probably just some undigested snacks in your abdomen So get off your ass and take a laxative." Chauncy wasn’t mad at his chick, he just sighed And said: “Honey, dreams are how we see with our third eye Most religions and ancient traditions treat them as premonitions Inner visions, we need to listen to our intuitions I just wish you knew what it meant, ‘cause I don’t Dreams have meaning in Greek myths, and in the Bible Joseph even dreamed the future of Pharoah’s people Why do you think they call it ‘The Technicolor Dreamcoat’? And she looked kinda sly as she rolled her eyes And said “Too bad the gods always give such vague signs Instead of specific information... Anyhoo You’d better watch out for foxes, babe, like chickens do” And he cocked his head sideways, and that was that Chauncy forgot about his dream and got his swagger back And said “I’m just happy when I’m beside you Except, this perch is too narrow for me to ride you So let’s take this outside, boo. Cock-a-doodle-doo! And his song kinda put her in the mood too And they flew into the yard to warm in the morning sun And he feathered her forty times before he was done And a few months later, what do you know Russel the fox crept into the yard slow He’d been watching the chickens for weeks, biding his time And now he hid in the weeds until they were right beside him A grinning assassin in the grass, his teeth flashin’ With murder on his mind, both a hunger and a passion He could feel need to kill, some call it evil But ask yourself, does a fox have free will? Could he choose to just be gone, if he wanted To prove the dream wrong, and find some greens to feed on? Or was the fox compelled by his physical make-up By his nature, to chase the chickens and try to taste one? Who knows what goes on under a fox’s fur? Epistemology is best left to philosophers I’ll just tell you about this fox, now he was a gentleman Chauntecleer caught a glimpse of him, and felt adrenaline Rushin’, but before he could run Russel hushed him And said “Hey, relax, I’m your friend. I can be trusted I only came here for one thing, and it’s not chicken dumplings I want to hear a performance from someone who loves to sing I heard your father sing once, mmh, what a voice! You could almost smell the scent of the hens becoming moist He sang on tip-toes, with his eyes closed And his neck stretched out, like Battery Farm Idol And he always left the audience in awe when he was done So I gotta know, are you your father’s son?” Chauntecleer was all ears, all his fears Were gone, this was all he ever wanted to hear He felt like his father was near, and he would do him proud He closed his eyes and he stretched his neck out And sang: “Cock-a-doodle-ackkk! Aa-a-aaack!” The fox had grabbed him by the neck and started runnin’ fast He twisted his head and threw the rooster’s body on his back The chickens stared cluckin’, and Purdy was the loudest of ‘em Screaming “Fox! Fox! Someone come and help my husband! Buck-buck-buck-buckuck!" The sound of a bunch of hens Brought the widow runnin’ so fast that she jumped the fence Her daughters came after, and the neighbors with their dogs too Barkin’ and yappin’ – half the village was in hot pursuit But the fox was faster, and he had a massive head start Chauntecleer was terrified, but he tried to think smart He said, “Aack, you’ve done it, we’re almost at the woods now They’ll never catch us, and you still have time for put downs You can turn around and stick your tongue out and mock them And say ‘Ha ha, I’ve got your cock’ and trash talk them!” And the fox smiled and curled his black lips back And turned around and opened his mouth to do just that And when as his jaws unlocked, Chauncy took his only chance And flew into a tree, and perched on the lowest branch And Russel the fox looked up with his mouth open And his voice was soft-spoken, when he said “I was jokin’ When I took you by the throat and brought you into the woods I wasn’t tryin’ to hurt you; my intentions were good! Come down and I can explain everything!” And Chauntecleer laughed, like, “Why, you wanna get me to sing? Here: Cock-a-doodle-do! Here come the villagers!” And the fox ran off with a bitter curse And they brought the cock back to the farm, back to his duties Crowin’ at the break of dawn, and gettin’ up in chickens booties And debating metaphysics with his lady when they wake up And that’s how the story ends – peace to Aesop Now let this be a lesson you can have to keep Don’t let them gas you, and never listen to flattery Yeah let this be a lesson you can have to keep Get your pride in check, and never listen to flattery Never listen to flattery Whatever kind of person you are Whether you’re fox-like Like a record label A & R Or whether you’re chicken-like You know, struttin’ around, peckin’ the ground Or whether you’re rooster-like With your chest out proud It’s all the same to me Just keep your wits about you And never listen to flattery
Merchant 10:22
Merchant Uncle Geoffrey Will you tell us a bed-time story? Please, huh? Please? All right, all right, all right Settle down. You guys all tucked in? Yeah! Alright, check it out – y’all ready? Yeah! Alright, check it Here we go… This is the story of a rich old man, January He’s still a bachelor at sixty, but now he plans to marry And he’s looking for a beautiful young wife Which is an option for rich old geezers, sometimes Now, January was one of those “secularists” Which means he had no control over his sexual urges He couldn’t say which was better, gettin’ laid or gettin’ paid He just knew when he was gettin’ one, the other would get away But then he changed, whether from religious sensibility Or whether he just got thick-headed from senility I can’t say, but suddenly he wanted it January became a dedicated monogamist Instead of a misogynist, treating women like objects It’s funny how our attitudes change with our prospects Yeah, marriage is a beautiful thing Especially for those who are too old to swing That’s when it’s nice to just stay home with your wife Instead of chasing waterfalls, ‘cause it’s cold outside Take my advice, all you bachelor men If you want love and happiness and companionship You need a wife, a woman who will never be impatient No more rejection and constant humiliation Or anyway, that’s what January would say When he decided he was ready for his wedding day So he asked his friends to help him find somebody And said, “Guys, just try to make sure she’s under twenty I want sex appeal, not a tough old cow I want some tender veal, instead of know-how I want a woman I can mould right now with my own hands Not a pre-fab thirty-year-old, I want some warm wax!” Well, soon a young girl caught his fancy And he said he had to have her if he wanted to be happy And I’ll skip the details of how they got engaged Except just to say: rich men get the females The girl that he chose was named May A pretty eighteen-year-old with a baby face And when the wedding day came, the pairing was gorgeous They looked like Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford If Calista was more like Miley Cyrus’ age Yeah, everyone agreed that the bride was a babe And January just watched her with lust in his eyes And all he really wanted was to bust in her thighs But first he had to get through the vows and feast And the speeches, while suppressing his eagerness But then the last guest in the villa went home He took his bride to bed – she lay as still as a stone As he caressed her, and said, “Sorry I have to hurt you But the church says sex within marriage is a virtue And now that we’re husband and wife I can make tonight last as long as I like!” And in spite of his age, January stayed solid And several long hours of unpleasantness followed And in the morning, instead of passing out He just sat up in bed singing and laughing out loud And she just watched him, like, “Ew, he’s crazy old! The wrinkles on his neck look like the skin of a baby mole!” And so on, and January singin’ his verses With his wife lyin’ next to him, thinkin’ he’s worthless So we’ll just leave May in bed with her disappointment And I’ll talk about the fly in the ointment January had a young assistant named Damian He was at the wedding, ‘cause he was one of his favorites But Damian couldn’t even enjoy the day Because Damian had eyes only for May But he knew he couldn’t tell her ‘cause his boss was jealous And January had sway, like the Rock-a-fellas So he thought to himself that the sure way to get her Would be to write the girl a note, oh yes, a love letter When he finished the note, like a sneaky sneak Damian hid it somewhere she would find it secretly And he signed his name to it; he was takin’ his chances ‘Cause a young man’s likelihood of mating advances By takin’ risks – that’s how human nature is ‘Cause the girls love a guy if he’s dangerous And when May found the note, she read it and smiled ‘Cause he was kinda sweet, plus it was written with style And it said: “PS – I’m dead if you tell your husband!” So she ripped it into fifty little pieces and flushed it Well after that things changed Damian and May played the winking game But they couldn’t follow through ‘cause there was a jealous guy In the mix – January kept a watchful eye On his chick, but the months passed by January was old; he was slowly going blind Which was increasing Damian’s chance of penetration Thank goodness for advanced macular degeneration ‘Cause if January was jealous before Well, his blindness amplified it just a little bit more He was so afraid to find his wife in a tryst That he kept one hand at all times on her wrist With no exceptions, not even for toilet breaks While she peed, he would hover beside her like a coiled snake Guarding its eggs, but his problem wasn’t solved Because her lack of freedom just increased her resolve And pretty soon, opportunity knocked ‘Cause January liked to take afternoon walks In his garden, holding May by the elbow He didn’t trust her for a second on her own, hell no! The garden was surrounded by a wall with a locked gate He wanted privacy to exercise his prostate With May when he pleased in a grove of trees And a chain around his neck held the only key But January slept like a corpse after strolls So May copied the key in a warm wax mould While he was passed out, and then she passed it out the window To Damian, along with a note containing info On what he should do, and how long he should take And when he should enter the garden gate, and where he should wait And he obeyed, Damian did what he was told A guy’s gotta roll with it when a woman’s in control Of his fate, right? Well the very next day January awoke with the sun on his face He couldn’t see it but he knew it was a beautiful day So he said: “Let’s take a walk in the garden, May!” She said, “Okay,” and dutifully walked beside him And when they passed through the gate, he locked it behind them And said, “Now there’s no one here but you and me, woman!” Except, Damian was there; she could see him, but he couldn’t He was sitting up in a tree, according to plan And as she walked with her husband she was holding his hand And saying, “Babe, I don’t get it; why don’t you trust me more? The way you treat me, you must think I’m nothing but a whore! You’re always holding my arm; it’s like you expect me To go fuck somebody different every second if you let me But we made a solemn vow to be faithful to each other Through the good and the bad, and to always stay together But for real, if you’re with me every second it’s no party” And January said: “Aw, May baby, I’m so sorry I wish I didn’t have to watch you every second Like a chicken hawk – it’s just these jealous thoughts! Ever since I lost my ability to see All I think about is other men humiliating me So I have to keep my property under lock and key And that includes you, my love, obviously See, I wanna set you free, but I’m afraid of human nature By keeping you with me I’m saving you from temptation” And May said, “Okay, I guess that’s fair Ooh, look up in that tree, such delicious pears! Oh please let me climb up and get some for us to eat You can guard the base of the tree if you don’t trust me” And he was kinda hungry, so he held the tree’s base And said, “Okay, but don’t tell me you never get free space” And for the precious folk, forgive my bluntness But Damian just lifted up her skirts and thrust in May and Damian, sitting in a tree F – U – C – K – I – N - G Like a couple of animals, with her jealous husband Obliviously guarding the trunk of it down below Now it’s time for a sublime suspension Of disbelief, ‘cause here comes divine intervention The ancient Roman gods, Pluto and Persephone Happened to be watching from above, and they commenced a heated Argument about who was in the right The jealous old husband or the adulterous wife She said, “Pluto, why you gotta be so hard on us? Why you swear all women are so scandalous? I mean, just look at how he treats her; she’s practically on a leash This guy deserves to get cheated on, honestly” And for his reply, Pluto quoted the poet O-vid And said: “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks! No wonder he’s jealous, just look at this little slut She’d climb in a tree just like a monkey to get some nuts! In fact, fuck that; I’ll give him his sight back And she’ll get caught in the act; yeah, we’ll see how she likes that! And I’ll give all men the gift of suspicion Like a weapon to keep an eye on these scandalous woman!” And Persephone said, “Fine, if you give him his sight back And make men suspicious, I’ll give women a gift to fight back! If your gift to men is to make them jealous twits Then my gift to women is the gift of deceptiveness Sweet words, deflection and flattery Whatever they need to keep their men from reality” Now isn’t it strange that the gifts the gods gave Kinda sound like the product of an evolutionary arms race? So that if anyone was randomly born with an advantage In the battle of the sexes, then they’d leave more descendants On average… Ah forget it, call it a divine gift And we’ll go back to the story of January’s blindness Which evaporated miraculously And he looked at his hands like, “God damn! I can see! I can see… My wife, and she’s in a tree?!? With a man… And they’re fucking in the canopy!?!” And May instantly climbed down While Damian crouched behind some branches to hide himself And she said: “Oh, thank god it worked! When I first heard about it, I thought it was the oddest cure!” And he said, “Cure?!? But you were bent over a branch With a man…” And she said, “No, that was an interpretive dance!” “There was a man, but he’s gone now, see? Look, there’s no man in the tree; it’s just you and me And you can see! So you shouldn’t be angry I just gave you your vision back, baby; you should thank me It’s a new form of alternative therapy You do an interpretive dance with a man up in a pear tree And it acts as a homeopathic cure for blindness It’s based on the latest in quantum science!” And he said, “But I saw your dress pulled up to your chest” And there was all this thrusting and exposed flesh!” And she said: “Look, you know how you can’t trust your sight First thing in the morning until you adjust to the light, right? Well, darling, you have been utterly blind For months; you probably just have rusty eyes And besides, didn’t you just say that You have visions in your head of being humiliated? So how do you know that it wasn’t one of those? I mean, there’s nothing we see that the mind doesn’t control So there is no shame if you hallucinate But you have your vision back! Aw baby, that’s super great!” And January didn’t really wanna fight With his wife, and he was pretty happy for his sight So he said: “Okay, baby, maybe I was wrong” And he really believed it too; he wasn’t just playing along And they headed home together, hand in hand The model relationship between a woman and man That’s right fellas! This is a horror story! They were the model relationship Between a woman and a man! Nooooo! Good night
Interlude B 01:08
Interlude B Yeah, from Gilgamesh to Chaucer via the Odyssey This is philosophical narrative artistry And somehow it still means something to us, as powerfully Now as it did to people who’re thousands of years asleep Hear them speak through the modern lyricism Technology is changing, every couple years it’s different And language is evolving too, smooth and sinuous It’s only human nature that remains continuous That’s the influence of our natural history People have the same passions now as past centuries Whether it’s jealousy, greed, lust or vengeance We’re just the descendants of those who left descendants The body disintegrates into dust and cinders While the legacy remains, in memories and young infants But who gets remembered, and who gets forgotten? And whose line dies out, and whose gets to blossom? That’s where the crux of the story resides In the struggle to survive and leave something behind It’s the struggle to survive And leave something behind
Wife of Bath 09:53
Wife of Bath Once upon a time quite long ago When King Arthur was in charge of the round table Yeah, that’s right, you heard me – just listen It’s a hip-hop rendition of an Arthurian legend And the early religion at that time that time was pagan They had elves and fairies and dragons And tree spirits, and those sorts of things According to old books: Lord of the Rings And the bible; I know, they’re just metaphorical Allegorical instead of historical Sorry folks, but this isn’t your show I decide how the story is told And besides, nowadays the fairies have vanished Banished just ‘cause some of us aren’t very imaginative Fairy-killers are known by various adjectives Skeptics, atheists, rationalists Anyway, maybe the change was all good ‘Cause in those days, a woman couldn’t walk in the woods And feel safe, without being chased by an incubus Ew! Or some other beast tryin’ to cling to us So maybe the spirit world’s death was worth it Now that sex abuse is mainly just in churches And other places of worship – women have it better now Disrespect us and you’ll never live it down But back to the lecture at hand One of King Arthur’s knights was a strapping young man Who went out hawkin’ with his peregrine falcon One day, and met a young girl out walkin’ And instead of playing a chivalrous gentleman’s game He took her virginity while she protested in vain Shame! A sympathetic delegation Pressured King Arthur to condemn the filthy rapist In the girl’s name, and the King said, “Yes, Off with his head!” and sent him to his death But the queen, Guinevere, and the other women there Persuaded him, that was just a bit severe They figured rehabilitative justice was the best solution Instead of retribution So King Arthur gave him to the Queen, to maim, kill or save him She was supreme as Elena Kagan Crossed with Kiera Knightly; Guinevere was rightly Appointed to judge the tearful knight’s pleas She said, “Hmm, I’m lookin’ at a dead man Unless you can answer one simple question Tell me what women want – answer truthfully Don’t try to get it from a Mel Gibson movie Or a sleazy pick-up artist’s book You have one year to give this riddle your hardest look And then we’ll see what people think, is he right? Or is he just the weakest link? Goodbye!” The knight was terrified; he started traveling The land, asking random people for their advice Hoping to find some kind of clear answer But he could barely find a pair of matched words Disaster! They all said something different Some said, “Women just wanna be respected” Other said “We want a family, a sense of security Necklace, bracelets, and all other types of jewelry” And some said “Women just want simple happiness” Or “Hot sex to express our inner nastiness” And some said, “Nah, you gotta flatter chicks, personally” I admit, that does tend to work for me! Others said, “We want danger; we might not admit it But we’re on for the chase and we want ‘em to come and get us Plus we love a young thug that’s overflowin’ with swag And keeps his woman all draped in new Louis Vuitton bags! I know what them girls! I know! I know what them girls like! Anyway, the end of the year finally came And the knight had no idea what he was gonna say To the Queen; I mean, he was really desperate As he headed back to the castle to accept his fate And get his neck split, but along the way The knight happened to pass through a dark forest glade And he saw a circle of beautiful dancing girls They giggled and played and laughed and twirled And then… poof! The dancers vanished And instead he saw the oldest woman on the planet She was foul, her body shriveled and tiny Her clothes ripped and grimy; he figured mid-nineties She said: “Ooh, tell me, why so sad? I’ll try to give you some wise advice if I can!” And the knight collapsed at her feet and begged her “Please! Advice, that’s exactly what I need! Unless I can tell the queen what women want She’s gonna kill me – listen, if you help me I can make you wealthy!” And she said: “Okay then But can I have anything I ask as payment?” “Anything I have, take it!” He replied And she said: “Alright, I’ll keep you alive” And she whispered a secret in his ear and escorted him in To report it to the court women Now, so many women had assembled to hear What the knight was gonna say at the end of his year That the place was at capacity, widows and spinsters Teenagers, wives, and old women with dentures The Queen was on high, ready to pass judgment With guards standing by to take his ass to the dungeon The knight stood in front of them; he cleared his throat And said in a manly voice: “Okay, here we go Here’s what women desire most: sovereignty Never submission, only dominancy And especially over men, over husbands and lovers That’s what women want; you want to live above us! You don’t have to make every decision, but you always Have to make the decision whether to make the decision So, what’s it gonna be? Is there any woman here who really doesn’t agree?” Unanimous agreement – the knight had it! Even women who like women said he was right, on average The only people who disagreed with everybody Were the ones whose college major was in “Gender Studies” ‘Cause they didn’t think “gender” was a natural category… Anyway, back to the story The Queen was in agreement and just about to release him When that same old lady he met earlier that evening Shouted: “Wait! First I wanna speak! I taught him that secret, and he promised me Anything I wanted, well here’s my request Marry me, baby, and take me to bed!” “I did promise,” said the knight “I admit it “But please, just choose something different! Take everything I own; take my money, my home Anything you want, just leave my body alone!” And the old crone said, “Aw, so sweet! But money is something I’m too old to need I just want you to hold me, baby; caress me Touch me all over and make me feel sexy!” He tried to negotiate, but there was no escape They were married the very next day And after the vows, it was straight in the bedroom The knight was crying, his ancient wife lying next to him Smiling, like: “Honey, I need some attention! Why are you curled up in the fetal position? Is this how all of King Arthur’s Knights act When they bring a new wife back for their first night in the sack? I saved your life; why would you take offense? Just tell me what’s wrong, and I’ll try to make amends” “Amends?!?” said the knight, “You disgusting creature You’re about as sexy as Mother Theresa! You’re low class, you’re old, and you’re hideous too I’d rather be dead than stuck in bed with you!” And she said, “Aw, is that really all it is? You don’t like me ‘cause I’m old and ugly and not rich? Well, just listen to what I have to say We’ll see if it’s really impossible to convince a man to change First of all, class? Really? You bring up classism? Everyone knows that’s an anachronism Except in India, where they still have a caste system And in Britain, where it’s their accents that restrict them But everywhere else people know, the only inheritance You get from rich parents is arrogance You can get money from them, but not wisdom You’re suffering from rich-person-autism: ‘Rot-ism’ It’s a disease, a lack of social skills That comes from never having struggled to float the bills Too much caviar, cocaine, and canapés No humility; most of humanity can’t relate Now, if your parents were charismatic, that might impress me If your dad was Martin Luther King, or John F Kennedy? Maybe you could say: ‘My genes were my best gifts’ But no one cares if your parents were just rich! They care about your choices, and the good works you do Those are the only true sources of virtue And if I’m old and ugly, well look on the bright side You never have to worry about what I’m up to at nighttime Other men live in fear of their wives cheating on them But that’s only a problem because other people want them But I know how to make you happy – you choose You could have me young and beautiful, with huge boobs And Scarlett Johansson hourglass curves I could make this happen with a couple of magic words But if you choose a young beautiful wife Then other men will come and try to seduce me at night And I just might, ‘cause I’ll be young and playful Or you could have me this age, and faithful!” And the knight sighed and said, “I… Think I need to let my wise wife decide Whichever you prefer, I’ll accept it” And the old woman asked him one final question Like: “Does that mean I’m in charge? Let’s be clear!” And knight said the magic words: “Yes dear” And she said, “That was the right answer Any man who accepts his wife as his master Will have both beauty and fidelity (As far he knows) and that’s what you’ll get from me!” And poof! She changed into Scarlett Johannson’s twin And the knight was bathed in a bath of bliss And he kissed her a thousand times, and that’s how they lived For the rest of their lives, faithful and passionate And that’s the end Now my story is spoken Now ladies, let us pray Let us pray for husbands easily broken Let us pray for men of courage and compassion, men of skill And wisdom, the wisdom to bend to women’s will Let us pray for men with girth and length Men with talent and rhythm, men with hand strength And let us especially pray for the tragic men Who lack the common sense to recognize the fact Of natural female dominance Let them repent, or be taken by pestilence And let women never, ever Ever have sex with them Amen
Beowulf 08:45
Beowulf Yo, listen up, I wanna say some things About the days of ancient Danish kings One of the first was a foundling Who flourished called Shield Shaefing Whose great grandson Hrothgar Was in charge of the Danes when this tale is told The tale of a mead hall harrowed By a terror, and a hero called Beowulf A massive mead hall – Heorot Hrothgar had it built And after he filled it with dancing and drinking And laughter and singing, happy people Yeah, but that was brief though There was a monster prowling on the moors Grendel, and for him the sound Of carousing was just an obnoxious roar Now Grendel’s been called a fiend Cursed by God, a powerful demon Yeah, lots of awful things And it’s true that the works that he wrought were fiendish But these were superstitious folk And yes, I mean both the Christian poet And the old pagan text he re-wrote Grendel’s flesh was physical Now I’ve heard some outlandish conjectures From critics about how: “Grendel’s cannibalism Was essentially different from the psychopathic Pleasures of a man like Hannibal Lecter” One theory goes that he was the last Of a band of Neanderthal wretches Another says that he was an apparition The province of psychoanalysis Yeah, rabid secularists like me Wanna cut to the heart of a story Maybe he had some deformity In his eardrums; now that would be parsimony It doesn’t matter – you know as well As I do that there’s no hell No gods, no demons, no elves Delivering gifts on Noel And I say “Oh well” C’mon, so what if Grendel’s Nature wasn’t clear-cut? All that matters here is the level Of fear that he brought to Heorot They say at night he snuck in Greedy and grim, and murdered thirty men! But even if it was just three men Would he be any less of a demon? Grendel left the Spear-Danes screamin’ And they couldn’t even deal him a cut He just killed when he wanted and spilled so much blood That it left a bit of a chill on their fun So they prayed to their pagan gods for relief If only they had Jesus! If only they knew what we know now How Jesus comes to your aid when he’s needed! Forgive me for being facetious It’s just that divine intervention Was just as non-existent then As now as a help in a time of oppression What happened instead was That word spread to the seven seas To the friends and enemies of the Danes That Hrothgar’s hall stood empty And it spread to the Geats, to Sweden To the land of Beowulf And him and his men donned their chain-mail coats And sailed for the Danish coast And it wasn’t long before they stood Sea-swept, and rain-soaked In Hrothgar’s great mead hall And there Beowulf made his famous boast And said: “Anyone who’s ever seen me fight Knows that I’ve never been the type to back down I’ve suffered extremes defending the Geats And I’ve never had a match ‘til now But I’ve heard there’s a fiend in your land A demon who has no fear of reprisal Who creeps in the night, eats you alive And threatens your mere survival So here’s my boast: I’ve heard it said That Grendel fights with no weapons So I’ll go toe-to-toe with no sword in my hand And no shield by my side for protection Yeah, hand-to-hand combat! Just me and the fiend in a fight to the death And if Grendel wins, well then Best believe he’ll be feeding tonight on my flesh!” Hwaet!?! Well, Hrothgrar was quite impressed With the strong words of this conqueror And he ordered a feast to be served to the Geats And the mead hall was soon full of drunkards But their comforts were soon disturbed By a servant of the king called Unferth A weaselly little flea who was eager to see Beowulf’s pride get punctured “What vanity!” he cried to the crowd “This man lives in a fantasy If he thinks he can defeat Such a powerful enemy single-handedly! His accomplishments are nothing But narcissistic non-existent nonsense How can you defeat a monster when you even lost to Your friend Breca in a swimming contest?” Well, Beowulf wasn’t nonplussed By this obnoxious onslaught, nah He said: “You’s a flea, and I’m the big dawg I scratch you off my balls with my muthafuckin’ paws Besides, bitch, your information is wrong I beat Breca and cut off the python Tentacles of every muthafuckin’ leviathan That tried it on up in that quiet storm And anyway If you had any skill Then Grendel couldn’t kill all your men And still go back to his den at the end and chill!” Well, after that, Unferth Basically, he just shut the fuck up Maybe because of Beowulf’s Gratuitous use of the word “muthafucka” Yeah, it’s offensive language But come on, this is Anglo-Saxon You can’t expect manners From men of action; nah, that’s a plain distraction So after his word-clash with Unferth Beowulf went back to the feast And kept on bragging out loud About how he was gonna tackle the beast And then Hrothgar went to bed And he left the guard to Beowulf and the rest of the Geats And the fires burned low And the mead hall was soon fast asleep And that’s when the shadow-stalker Grendel, came greedily loping Down from the mountain, and out of the mist ‘Cause he could smell fresh human meat for the gulping And the mead-hall was dozing Every single person in the place was unconscious Except for Beowulf Who lay awake in the darkness, waiting for the monster That hall was erected as a fortress But Grendel just smashed the doors in With his massive hands, grabbed the first warrior In sight, and viciously slashed and gored him Mmm, the taste of his flesh was gorgeous And Grendel was ready for more, just Itching to turn the rest of these poor Wretches into a pile of dismembered corpses So he moved like a phantom Over to the next man’s form on the floor But that’s when he felt a strong hand Clamp on to his wrist and twist back his arm! Then Grendel felt a kind of pain That he never in his life had to contemplate Squeezed, like by an anaconda snake And only one thought in his mind: “Don’t fight, run away!” But he was boa constricted Beowulf had him in a death-grip I mean, you know how much pain is inflicted Right? When your arm gets twisted? Well the intended victim was the predator now And the hall filled with the most pitiful sound This long, drawn-out, desperate howl Like: “Aaaaooooooowww!” And Geat warriors all surrounded Grendel With their swords drawn and tried to stab him But none of them could get a blow past him So they swore that his skin was enchanted But some form of spell-casting So that no physical weapon could scratch him But what do you think the chances are That they just chickened out and called it magic? I mean, it does sound like one of those embellishments Invented by storytellers just To make Beowulf’s belligerence And bellicose rhetoric sound like prescience, right? Yeah, so his men were ineffective But Grendel’s howls were blended Now with the sickening sound of ligaments Ripping out of position and twisting tendons Ow! Then his limb disconnected And Grendel ran back out into the mist And Beowulf raised the severed arm aloft Still held in his fist And the Geat warriors all gathered ‘round Eager to see the demon flesh And they all agreed that, yes Grendel was soon gonna bleed to death Then they mounted the arm as a trophy On the wall to inspire their fire-side boasting And troubadours immortalized Beowulf’s heroic deeds in their poetry And I wish I could leave this scene With the Danes and Geats on easy street But heroes fight demons in threes So, introducing: Angelina Jolie As Grendel’s mother, a feminine killer With collagen lips and swollen breasts-s-s And when Beowulf tried to confront her All he really wanted was sex… God damn it, Robert Zemeckis! Your Hollywood epic with all of its Marketing methods is confounding My honest efforts to keep this poem authentic! It’s pathetic! All I see when I picture Grendel’s mother, instead of a hideous monster Is Crispin Glover caressing his digitally-rendered Mom like an incestuous lover And I’ll never recover, so forget it! If you want to know her actual facial features Just go ask your twelfth-grade teachers, Or your college professors – they’re like the last gate-keepers On tradition – or read Seamus Heaney’s version His verse is amazing! But any pop-culture interpretation Is subject to virtually unlimited changes ‘Cause if you try to please the Tourists Well, the Purists get Tourette’s and curse you But then if you try to do the reverse Well, the Tourists are known for their lack of endurance So who do I try to please first? Myself, and it usually works! So instead of judging like jurists Just sit back and enjoy the experience And I’ll go back to the story... actually You know what? Forget it – I’d rather just leave it If you really wanna know how it ends Well then I guess you’d better just read it! That’s right Go read it Seamus Heaney Norton Publishing Get the dual language edition Read the introduction too Super informative C’mon ladies and gentleman You can’t listen to rap music to get an education That’s insane! This is entertainment only You have to go read! Go read! Go read! Go reeaaad!!!
Epilogue 01:25
Epilogue The end is near So let me just take a second to be serious Reading is silent; a record delivers an experience I’ve been reciting irreverent lyrics set to compositions By Mr. Simmonds for like sixty minutes – thanks for listening I hope you found it surprisingly pleasing But if so, be advised: I’m not the reason I’m just a vessel for the original author Most of the credit should go to Geoffrey Chaucer He dropped me off at the House of Fame; I just knocked And the Game taught me not to be ashamed to name-drop So I confess, I’m an amalgamation of lots of styles From Steven Pinker to Big Pun, Nas to Oscar Wilde So I am sincere when I say this All praises should go to my reading lists, and my playlists But if anything I had to say gave you displeasure I will take all the blame; I should have phrased it better If I tell a couple stories and it leaves someone angry That’s because of a default in my understanding Don’t get me wrong; I meant to be provocative It’s part of my job description when I’m droppin’ hip-hop lyrics But I’m not trying to leave anyone actively furious I just wanna leave people intellectually curious You know, in a mischievous sort of way That’s all – there is no more to say


The Canterbury Tales Remixed premiered at the Soho Playhouse in New York and enjoyed a critically-acclaimed three month run off-Broadway. Chaucer's Tales mix with some of history's greatest epics, tracing a thread from the oldest legends to the newest rap songs on the charts.

Review from The Find Magazine:

"Takes storytelling to a whole new level with highly impressive and hilarious anecdotal interpretations of classic tales."

full review:

Review from Show Business Weekly:

"Warriors clash, badass thieves and thugs receive a brutal comeuppance, husbands fight a losing battle against wily wives and seducing lothiarios, villages are plagued by sinister forces of nature... Like ancient listeners gathered around the fire, we want to hear more."

full review:


released April 15, 2012

Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Mr. Simmonds

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Baba Brinkman New York, New York

Science rapper and inventor of several novel hip-hop variants. Canadian transplant to New York. Pathological optimist.

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