Friday Playlist – Vol. 3

During our rehearsal process, we’ve been checking out a variety of music videos and clips of live performances as we develop ideas about what Pinnacle, Verb, and Peep One’s performance styles and stage presence might be like. Each week we’ll compile a few selections here on the blog — here are this week’s links!

Kendrick Lamar is incredibly dynamic onstage — the way his body becomes the beat makes for a high energy live performance, and his use of the mic stand as a tool to focus and ground him in the space is worth noting.

Yelawolf has command of his stage, whether he’s walking around the stage during a break or spitting raps at the mic:

Bruno Mars might not be the first artist that comes to mind when you think of Hype Man, but the high energy, the sense of joy, and the use of levels and specific movement to punctuate beats in this performance are all things worth exploring:

This clip of Rezz provides a few different examples of how a DJ might be present onstage — the video is super long, so skip through a bit, but note the way her movements and vibe respond to the changes in the beat:

#SayTheirNames

VERB: Some bullshit.
PINNACLE: Yeah it is.
PEEP ONE: Damn.
VERB: So sick of this. How many this year alone?
PEEP ONE: Too many.
VERB: This keeps happening.
PINNACLE: I know. It’s bullshit.

– HYPE MAN by Idris Goodwin, p.19

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The image above shows just several of the many black lives taken by police unjustly in recent years — their names and many others have been making the front pages and top headlines of major news and media outlets over the past several years as issues surrounding police violence become more of a national conversation. In an attempt to humanize and create visibility for people of color who were victims of police brutality, online activists began using the social media hashtag #saytheirnames.

As we consider the social and political climate in which Hype Man is set and explore the circumstances that lead to the death of (fictional) Jerrod Davis, it’s worth pausing to reflect on the real life incidents that inspired this aspect of the play. Click the names below to read/watch their stories:

Trayvon Martin

Tamir Rice

Tanisha Anderson 

Mya Hall

Walter Scott

Sandra Bland

Mike Brown

Philando Castile

Eric Garner

Their Names and stories Continue…

Dr. Dre: The most influential producer in hip hop history

“So many dope women out here. I can put on for em. I can build a movement just like Dr. Dre did. That can be my brand.” — Peep One in HYPE MAN, p.56

In rehearsal, the team has been exploring the intricacies of Peep One’s character journey throughout the play, including the way she begins to find her voice as a female beat maker in the hip hop industry. Peep One mentions Dr. Dre multiple times throughout the play, suggesting that his career success and influence in hip hop is something she aims for in her own work. Verb also references Dr. Dre’s song “Deep Cover” while telling a story about a high school party later in the play.

So who is Dr. Dre, and what innovations has he contributed to hip hop?

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“Initially known to the world as an MC for gangsta godfathers N.W.A., Dr. Dre went on to become the single most influential producer in hip-hop history. With 1993’s The Chronic, he married breezy funk samples to hardcore imagery, creating the G-Funk style and inspiring a host of imitators. He would later discover and nurture some of the best rappers ever, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50 Cent.” — Rolling Stone

Not only is Dr. Dre a groundbreaking music producer and beat maker that discovered some of the most famous rappers in history, but he also popularized rap by marrying early gangsta rap’s commercial sheen with the grit of the neighborhoods from which the genre came. This is the legacy Dr. Dre has carved in the hip hop industry, and what Peep One would like to model for women in hip hop.

For a deeper look at Dr. Dre’s sound and career highlights, check out “Dr. Dre’s 16 Greatest Contributions to Music, Ranked” on Vulture. The list includes the aforementioned song “Deep Cover,” which features a lot of Dre’s stylistic hallmarks, as well as tracks from his groundbreaking album The Chronic and other collaborations and high points spanning his career.

 

Verb’s Top 5 Hype Men: Spliff Star

“Spliff star from flipmode” – Verb in HYPE MAN pg. 84

The third hype man that Verb mentions in his top 5 is Spliff Star from the Flipmode Squad.

Called one of the greatest Hype Men in rap history by complex.com, Spliff Star was best friend and side kick to Busta Rhymes from a young age. After Spliff decided that working the streets was not as good as a career in hip hop, he joined forces with Busta Rhymes and their careers took off in the mid 1990s. Their dynamic is packed with chemistry, support, and vibing each other in a way that creates cohesive and flowing performance.

 

Friday Playlist – Vol. 2

During our rehearsal process, we’ve been checking out a variety of music videos and clips of live performances as we develop ideas about what Pinnacle, Verb, and Peep One’s performance styles and stage presence might be like. Each week we’ll compile a few selections here on the blog — here are this week’s links!

GoldLink, Brent Faiyaz, and Shy Glizzy all have really different styles of delivery and presence here — it’s interesting to see how those styles contrast and compliment each other as we play with different approaches for Pinnacle, Verb, and Peep One:

Run the Jewels bring a lot of energy to their performance on this DJ Shadow track, and their connection feels genuine and fun:

Noting the way Macklemore and Offset use the stage space in this performance on Jimmy Kimmel is useful as we explore the onstage movement for the Hype Man performance moments.

Post-Malone’s performance on Late Night relies on a lot of lighting and fog effects to create mood and interest, but there’s minimal physical action onstage. Like Pinnacle’s focus on “the grind,” Post Malone’s lyrics here highlight the hard work he’s put in to reach success:

Peep One and her DNA results

PEEP ONE: I opened those DNA results….last night

VERB: I thought….I thought you ain’t wanna know

PINNACLE: You always told me you didn’t care.

VERB: So? What are you?

PINNACLE: Not that it matters but—yeah what are you?

Peep One, who’s described in the Hype Man character breakdown as mixed race, was adopted as a kid and doesn’t know much about her family history or racial background. She frequently gets questions about her racial identity and debates whether a home DNA test, like the ones offered by Ancestry.com or 23andMe, might illuminate something about her heritage and her relationship to the events surrounding the shooting of Jerrod Davis.

A question came up in rehearsal about what a DNA test result might look like — below are a few examples of how that data might be presented and the level of detail Peep One could expect to see in her results.

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AncestryDNA_Heather Michelle Collins

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