On 'Shakespeare' Akala busts out the level of lyricism that skyrockets him beyond the reach of any contemporary. Over the grinding breakdown of Tomcraft's trance smash 'Loneliness' he spits lyrics that bend the laws of street linguistics from slang to poetry to science and back again into the manifesto for tomorrow's hip hop. It is, like he says, 'Shakespeare with a nigga twist.'
A masterclass in quickfire MCing and top-notch production, 'Shakespeare' maintains the energy and urgency of Tomcraft's original whilst adding the infamous Akala 'bounce' – as anyone privvy to his recent incendiary live shows will bear witness.
The track came about in a pretty unconventional way. 'I don't drink much,' says Kingslee, 'but the last time I got drunk was about a year and a half ago. Some mates persuaded me to go to a big house night. I knew I could only stand it if I got really drunk. We were on the dancefloor and Loneliness, by Tomcraft came on. I started to rap freestyle to the pumping beat, comparing myself to a modern-day Shakespeare. I didn't remember any of this in the morning. But one of my mates was like, 'Oh my God, you came up with some really cool stuff. You've got to remember it.' He had to buy the track to remind me. Gradually, it came back, and I realised it wasn't that bad.' In fact, it was so good it's made it onto the next single…
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