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
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