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Eternal Kool Project | The Inferno Rap

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The Inferno Rap

by Eternal Kool Project

A rap rendition of Dante Aleghieri's Inferno. The
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap: East Coast
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1. The Inferno Rap
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Album Notes
This is a unique, never before done approach to Dante Alighieri's Inferno. Lyrics written in the 14th Century, as translated in the mid 1800s by H Cary, are rapped by MicPwr, over a music track composed by Mr Moe. It is a powerful depiction of a medieval Hell, performed by uban artists.



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Carlos F. Torres

Dante's 14th Century lyrics come to life with renewed vigor in this rap renditio
The Eternal Kool’s Project release of Inferno: The Rap is a bold, new attempt to use a hiphop beat to present Classical Literature.

Everyone’s heard at one time or another about Dante’s Inferno. But few people really know what it’s all about. And even fewer have actually read the work.

Writing in the early to mid-1300s (yeah, almost 700 years ago!) Italian poet Dante Alighieri depicted in spine-shivering detail a journey through the depths of Hell, into Purgatory and then into Paradise. This trilogy – “Inferno”, “Paradiso” and “Purgatory” -- is called the Divine Comedy.

Inferno consists of thirty four Cantos, each of 136 lines of eleven syllables (hendecasyllable). Written in the Fourteenth Century’s equivalent of slang, known at the time as Lingua Vulgari, instead of the more elitist Latin, Dante uses a rhyming structure called Tercets, employing eleven-syllable verses that rhyme in every third line. The translation by the Reverend H.C. Carey, published in the mid-1800s, and used for this rap rendition, breaks free from the rigors of the rhyme respects the hendecassyllabic form, maintaining intact Dante’s story line in all it’s gore and ghoulish imagery.

Inferno starts with Dante running into fellow Poet Laureate Virgil, from the glorious days of Imperial Rome, who guides him throughout the entire journey. Upon crossing the vestibule of Hell, where the legend “Forget all hope ye who enter here” signals the way, Virgil and Dante commence their descent. They go down into a reverse spiral, a series of interconnected circles populated by sinners, ranked by the gravity of their transgressions, where they undergo the cruelest forms of punishments.

Bear in mind that Dante’s contemporaries were barely literate and quite supersticious and that it was centuries before electricity was discovered. Mildly put, things got pretty scary after dusk. Now, visualize for a couple of seconds, a crowded hall, barely lit by torches casting ominous shadows on the walls, as a terrified medieval audience listened to a poet declaim (they knew it by heart because if was before the printed word) Dante’s Inferno. But since entertainment venues were scarce a little laughter was infused into it, hence the name Comedy.

That frightening touch is achieved by Mr Moe’s textured sound track where the pain and lamentations of tortured sinners punctuate the lyrics. A chorus sings a “Miserere” adding an extra touch of eereyness feeling. You can clearly hear the sinners, almost touch them and most definitely feel their pain – listen to it in with the lights on and with plenty of people around, preferably in full daylight.

New York City Mic PowR manages to maintain the energy at a steady tempo, describing the descent in Canto 5, where Dante and Virgil meet those who’ve committed the Sin of Lust. And continues describing their ascent out of Hell, where both poets literally climb out by grabbing on to the Beelzebub’s (another name for the Evil one) hairy goat legs. Negotiating horrible obstacles, stopping to meet the various Traitors forever incarcerated in the bowels of Hell, Dante and Virgil eventually crawl out into a star-studded night. That’s the end of Inferno.

Pretty cool stuff. Or rather pretty Kool. The driving principle behind the Eternal Kool Project is that Classical Literature and hip-hop share a lot of common ground. Poets o then wrote for the people and used the slang of the times. Absent the backup music and the written word (not to say MP3s), they relied on rhyme and rhythm as mnemonic (memory helpers) devices. Time and technology are the only differences between them and today’s urban poets, who reach deep into their souls to bring their words to the masses.

The Inferno Rap is a great introduction to Dante’s Inferno Eternally Kool masterpiece. It will scare you out of your pants as you headbop your way into the world of Classical Literature. In the classroom, or for your own pleasure, it is a must for your ipod.
CD includes lyrics and great links!


I can't wait to add it to my DANTE unit for my Italian 4 students!
Grazie mille!

Papa Newp

A sip well-aged of the vintage.
After a focused unit on Dante's Inferno with sophomore's the past several weeks, they have come to believe in the relevance of this 700 old piece of literature to THEIR lives TODAY. Any skepticism that remains will surely melt away when they hear this the day (Friday) after their unit test (tomorrow, May 3, 2007). I have already have played it for a select few, and they are excited about how their peers will respond.