How this Dillingham teenager turned an old epic poem into rap

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A literature class at Dillingham High School recently had a unique task – writing a skit, essay, or song about the world’s oldest known epic poem, The Story of Gilgamesh. A student decided to apply his passion for rap to the text.

Tracen Wassily was not convinced by the heavy “Epic of Gilgamesh”, a poem that dates back some 4,000 years.

“At first I didn’t like it,” said Wassily, who is 16. “But what I wrote was the part I liked the most.”

Wassily is a grade 11 student at Dillingham High School. He and his world literature classmates were recently given a unique mission: to turn Gilgamesh’s epic, the world’s oldest epic poem, into a skit, essay, or song.

For those of us who haven’t just graduated from high school, here’s a very basic recap of Gilgamesh’s story: it’s a Mesopotamian poem about a hero who sets out on a quest to find the secret of immortality. . Along the way, he forms a deep friendship and leads many battles.

When Wassily was commissioned to create something new based on the old text, he immediately got to work.

“Not even a day after – like right after school – I got to work on producing a rhythm, a good rhythm, like a fast rhythm for what I’m going to do,” he said. “Because that’s what I’m most comfortable with.

Wassily said he took inspiration from some of his favorite artists, like Denzel Curry, XXXTentacion and Zillakami.

“They just have great energy, great lyrics,” Wassily said. “And their delivery is just, like, perfect, to me. Their production team, their engineering, everything is really good.

Her song is called G and Enkidu, and it’s about a minute long. He said that in composing it he focused on matching the beat he created on an app on his cell phone to the emotion of the poem.

For example, take Humbaba, a monster in history. Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu embark on a journey to kill Humbaba.

Gilgamesh is the son of a goddess and a mortal, and a fierce king. But he is also little diplomat and greedy. So his mother helps create another man, Enkidu, from a piece of clay to serve as Gilgamesh’s friend and distract him from his immoral ways.

“The stuff I was rapping or singing on was that fast so it was going really well,” said Wassily. “They were fighting against Humbaba.”

Wassily chose to rap on Gilgamesh mourning Enkidu because of the powerful emotions that each line evokes.

“He lays her down on a beautiful bed, a queen bed,” Wassily said. “He says the rulers of the underworld are going to kiss your feet. Like, all that, just for him.”

For the future, Wassilly said, he wants to continue producing music, but it probably won’t be based on old poems.

Listen to the full song here:

Here are the full lyrics:

g and enkidu in search of glory

slayin humbaba is the beginning of its history

our heroes arrive at the door

but before they serve his destiny

their knees start to shake

they have a stomach ache

minutes later kidu slashin with his saber

the repercussions of this act that kidu will feel later

enkidu lay down before g

her tears are running down her two cheeks

in his dreams

he can see

that the underworld is where it will be

his side kick

12 sick days

en ki du will cease to exist

accepted by his mother

not replaceable by another

I left without a brother

now his heart is in the gutter

no more enkidu g alone now

he let everyone know in his hometown

that he and enkidu haven’t separated now

now he wanders around like a pod with a daring frown

he can’t understand he’s gone now

this is the end of Gilgamesh song now

Contact the author at [email protected] or 907-842-2200.


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