This week’s improv came with a side of Hip Hop for part of this weeks rehearsal. I popped along to a drop in that No Name Hip Hop Improv were doing for the improv Community in London where you could pop along and jam in hip hop form.
The lesson consisted of making sure that you focussed on rhythm, beat and the way that you speak to a beat. Since music is 90% of my life and poetry is another big part of me, I felt like I was at home straight away. Rhyming is one of my strongest skills so bringing it into an improv environment is always fun.
We started the lesson with a few exercises to get used to rapping in time to a beat – firstly with a few name games as we swayed side to side with the best. The next games we did focussed on narrative and trying to bring a story to rhyming couplets in a circle.
Hot Spot is a popular game used by musical improv lessons as a warm up – someone sings in the middle of the circle and then when someone thinks of another song that is sparked by that song they take over and sing that instead. Example, Ain’t No Sunshine could inspire The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow. In this hip hop version of the game you rap the lyrics of the song.
We then put the ideology of rap into a scene. The first time we saw it played the players rapped the scene then they played it again normal after to see how it felt to play differently. When I went into the scene we did it the other way round. I went into the plain scene focusing on scene work and I created a hotel receptionist that was posh and focussed on trying to log in a guest to the hotel. When it came to doing the scene in rap it was fun to add the elements to the beat.
We were told not to rhyme the things we were saying and to try and say it normally but to a beat. This technique I wasn’t a fan of because I live for the rhyme so I took my frustration out by doing a quirk I do in my daily life and if you see me in the street I can guarantee I will be doing this – tapping my fingers.
For as long as I can remember I have always tapped my fingers my right fingers on my right thumb in time to the music I listen to. I think it is because I play the keyboard that I sort of naturally tap at what keys I would play. I play a lot of my music by reading chords and then adlibbing the melodies so it comes natural to me to pretend my thumb is a keyboard and my fingers are talking on it to work out the key. Weird I know but it’s what I do. In the scene I used a similar skill to tapout the beat on the keyboard I had created in scene work. Thank you to No Name Hip Hop for the lesson it was fun.
At Punders HQ this week we were finessing new games for our show in June. It is all coming together and working well. We are mainly working towards trying to make mystery game work really well.
Case Study – The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience
For this weeks case study I desperately wanted to use Lonely Island as a case study but felt guilty as I use them so much. The music world spirits must of heard my desperation as they luckily dropped a brand new project at the end of the week, which means that now I can talk about them with valid reason – hooray!
The Bash Brothers experience was released on Netflix Thursday of last week and was a ‘visual album’ to parody baseball players from the eighties. The one thing I loved about it was the editing and graphics – it was so great and creatively done. The comedy and humour throughout was completely on point and complete genius.
The reason I wanted to discuss Lonely Island as a case study is because I feel that they are perfect at combining Hip Hop with comedy and I love the way they rap and rhyme.
I listen to Lonely Island a hell of a lot because I adore their voices and love their songs. I have also learnt a lot from the guys – I have learnt how to rap and rhyme in a comedic way, I have learnt how to focus on beats and unique ways to work with them. I have understood how to use my hands when I rap and always find myself mimicking Andy Sandberg.
There are so many songs from Lonely Island that have inspired me doing hip hop improv. This new project on Netflix I reccomend watching it as it sort of highlights a lot of their different styles they have brought to their albums. However, if you want a few songs that are not baseball related then here are a few others you should listen to. Watch the way they rap, watch their movements, their actions, their rap on the beat.
This one is very good for the hand movements and exaggeration whilst rapping Comedicly