I’ve meant to share videos from Post Modern Jukebox before, and forgotten. Which is appropriate because I saw this video a couple days ago and meant to share it here. And then forgot.
The YouTube description explains the video quite well:
Chicago in the 1920s was truly a gangster's paradise, after all… Check out the amazing Robyn Adele Anderson on this speakeasy jazz version of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" – the way Al Capone would've heard it.What struck me about this is, first, how interesting it was to hear a familiar song done in such a thoroughly different way. But the other thing I thought was how often I hear people dismiss rap and hip-hop as garbage, and then something like this shows the poetry in the original rap. I’ve long said that good rap (not the gratuitously misogynist or homophobic rubbish, obviously) is basically spoken word poetry. Hearing the rap re-imagined as a jazz-influenced song kind of reinforces that for me.
In any case, I just thought it was really interesting.