“Hip-hop is a powerful art form that played in the backdrop of my peoples’ lives. As we faced success or tragedy and created better relationships with our human spirits, hip-hop culture motivated us, provided lifelong affirmations and inspired ideas. It became very important for me to chronicle that energy in the American Theater.”
-Shaun Neblett, MC & Playwright, & Educator
Supported by the CRITICAL BREAKS residency of the Hi-ARTS Performance Space, Shaun Neblett’s 7 Homages for 7 Emcees play cycle is a collection of seven original plays that originate from the spirit of classic hip-hop albums. In commemoration of the 30th-anniversary celebration of The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, Neblett presents his theatrical work that pays tribute to the seminal recording. Shaun Neblett, a Brooklyn native known as MC SNEB during his rap days, is a playwright, educator, and founder of Changing Perceptions Theater.
His creative niche throughout the theater industry has been birthing original plays. The plays themselves are not about the Hip-Hop MCs that Shaun holds sacred, but instead they are inspired by the themes of the songs on those classic Hip-Hop albums personally selected for his Homage cycle. When the rapper Slick Rick was engaged in his notorious trial against deportation from the USA, he cited Homage 2: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick as an example of his inspiration on America’s next generation of influential artists. Billboard magazine hailed Homage 5: Life After Death as, “a street-smart production that pays homage to Biggie’s classic double-disc in both overt and subtle ways.” His other accolades was for “Homage 3: Illmatic," inspired by Nas debut album was presented Off-Broadway, and also received a reading at the Schomburg Center in 2014.
More importantly as a socially conscious creative, Neblett takes us on his intimate journey as a playwright with his chapbook “From Playwright to MC SNEB,” which can be purchased at www.Shaunneblett.com. Described as Hip-Hop theater, a genre written by artists who were born before and during the emergence of hip-hop as an art form, Nebelett’s plays examines the mortality of African American men depicted in the overshadowed life of urban America. He unapologetically addresses the themes of education, popular culture, art, family and crime through the lense of Hip-Hop within his works. We had the opportunity to see Homage 3: Illmatic, at The Schomburg a few years back and as quoted by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson it was, “A great play that evokes a sense of history and a sense of intimacy with people who nurture you, surround you and are a mystery to you”, it was truly a special experience of witnessing the Black male voice as he searched for the strength of his independence and manhood despite his circumstances.
When I decided that I would write seven original plays that originate from the spirit of seven classic hip-hop albums, a lot of people wanted me to create a play for an album by Notorious B.I.G. or Tupac. I wanted to recognize artists who hadn’t already received the adulation of Hollywood.
-Excerpt from an Essay by Shaun Neblett “Harlem Lab on My Mind
In the true spirit of a multifaceted artist who has kept forward momentum merging his talents as a MC, educator and playwright his greatest accomplishment has been as the Executive Director and Owner of Changing Perceptions Theater. Creating and managing multiple youth theater programs throughout low-income neighborhoods in New York City and in Newark, New Jersey the organization has successfully created “Happy Birthday Malcolm and Lorraine!” an annual production that unites a company of established theater artists to create original plays inspired by Malcolm X and Lorraine Hansberry, who both share the same birthdate.
To See HOMAGE 2: SLICK RICK in NYC tomorrow Monday, November 5, 2018 at 730PM
215 E 99th Street
New York NY 10029