Social entrepreneur and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist Akala engages young audiences worldwide as founder of The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company through his unique fusion of rap, rock, electro-punk and fierce lyrical storytelling. Like the bard himself, he captivates others with his words, business acumen, and passion for performance.
What do hip-hop and Shakespeare have in common? A lot, according to innovative rapper Akala.
Founder of The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company (THSC), the MOBO award-winning artist and social entrepreneur bestows the music genre with the intellectual credit it merits as a powerful form of cultural expression.
Launched in 2009, Akala’s music theatre production company provides a vehicle for his unique act which resonates with ‘hard to reach’ young audiences across the world, inspiring them to unleash their artistic talent. The enterprise’s blossoming reputation has been nurtured by noteworthy collaborations with the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, and the Royal Shakespeare Company Voice Director Cicely Berry.
The definition of ‘mash-up’, Akala combines electro-punk with rap and rock to create an energetic and emotive form of lyrical storytelling. Delivering stellar live performances with his drummer Cassell ‘TheBeatmaker’, together they have headlined five UK tours and toured with Jay-Z, Nas & Damian Marley, M.I.A. and Christina Aguilera.
Akala’s name is well-known amongst the press, with numerous TV appearances on MTV, Channel 4, ITV2 and the BBC, and in 2006 he was voted MOBO’s Best Hip Hop Act.
From festival appearances (Glastonbury, Big Chill, Wireless, amongst others) to partnering with the British Council to promoting British arts across Africa, Vietnam (the first rapper to perform a live concert in Vietnam), New Zealand and Australia, Akala is uniquely diverse, inspirational and artistically intelligent.
In 2011, he launched ‘Illa State Productions’ to focus his scriptwriting and TV presenting and composing for TV and Film projects.
Not unlike the bard behind the name of his first album, ‘The Rap Shakespearean’ is a gifted entertainer and sharp businessman with the ability to captivate audiences through his words; he has spoken at two TED Talks, and is frequently called upon to present after dinner and corporate seminars.
His speaking topics and entertainment options include:
- 1-2 hour music theatre production of a Shakespeare play with a scaled down orchestra
- A very simple and beautiful after-dinner performance of an ‘Othello’ monologue with Kora accompaniment
- Talks/seminars/presentations about youth engagement, education, social engagement, social enterprise, criminal justice system, prisons, youth crime, rehabilitation, mental health, World History, historical events, African history.
- Hip Hop Shakespeare bespoke performances (corporate entertainment)
- Hip Hop Shakespeare workshops for Staff (to inspire idea generation, confidence building, public speaking, building trust, increasing vocabulary, team-building, new ways of thinking and social engagement