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The Barcelona Review


Hip Hop & Literature

devised by Michael Ferlazzo

1. Known as the “Ghetto Prophet,” this highly influential rapper’s collection of poetry The Rose That Grew from Concrete was published posthumously in 2000.

Tupac Shakur

2. This Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and MacArthur Genius uses a quote from Public Enemy’s “Welcome to the Terrordome” as an epigraph in his 2011 zombie apocalypse novel.

Colson Whitehead

3. This Romantic poet and Wu-Tang Clan rapper’s lyrics are fused together in Rowan Ricardo Phillips poem “Mappa Mundi.”

Whether red birds sit and sing from rooftops
Or rappers cypher deep into the night,
The gun-in-your-mouth talk of a ransomed
God, nature is a lapse in city life.”

Samuel Coleridge and Raekwon

4. This Toni Morrison novel, which explores the effects and cultural imposition of European standards of beauty on black people, was used as inspiration for the Blackstar song Thieves in the Night.

The Bluest Eye

5. In his lyrics “They came to ask him for a least some new tracks / But only got confronted by the beast with two backs”, which Shakespeare play is MF DOOM referencing?


6. In Thomas Pynchon’s novel Bleeding Edge, Maxine references the rap beef between which two legendary New York artists?

Jay-Z and Nas

7. In Jay-Z’s lyric “Is Pious pious cause God loves pious” he is referencing which work of Socrates.


8. This Broadway musical turns the story of one of America’s founding fathers into hip-hop.

9. This award winning Poet and Rapper, known for his spoken word poetry and blending of musical genres, also starred in the Cannes Camera D’Or and Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning film “Slam.”

Saul  Williams

10. In criticizing the policing in America, Run the Jewels references which Shakespearean play with the concluding lyrics:

“Can’t keep killin’ God’s children, mane
A pound of flesh is what you owe
Your debt is due, give up your ghost”

The Merchant of Venice

11. The Roots entitled their 1999 album after this archetypal modern African novel by Chinua Achebe.

Things Fall Apart

11B. From which W.B Yeats poem did Achebe borrow this title from?

The Second Coming

12. This rapper uses the rallying cry “all my life i’ve had to fight” from the Alice Walker novel The Color Purple in his monumental Grammy award winning song Alright.

Kendrick Lamar

13. In his song The Blacker the Berry, he borrows the title of the novel of which American Novelist, active in the Harlem Renaissance?

Wallace Thurman

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