Perhaps Emperor Nero didn’t actually play a fiddle while Rome burned, but we’re now living in a time when a country’s “shadow president” may spend today watching a video of his old rap musical being performed while the government around him starts yet another week in various scandals.
Before becoming a high-profile political strategist and adviser to President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon attempted and failed to achieve a career in Hollywood. Along with writing partner Julia Jones, Bannon wrote various scripts that never ended up becoming movies, including at least a couple adaptations of William Shakespeare plays for the modern era.
In one of these adaptations, a take on Shakepeare’s “Coriolanus,” Bannon set the story during the Los Angeles riots of 1992. He also transformed the play into a hip-hop musical.
According to Jones when she spoke to The Daily Beast, the main concept was Bannon’s idea and then Jones wrote most of the rap lyrics, with help from the son of Bannon’s assistant. Bannon then “added stuff,” according to Jones, explaining, “all the ‘dudes’ are him.”
Bannon once set up a live reading of the musical, but the script hadn’t been publicly performed in many years. Parts of the script have been released by publications such as The New York Times, but until Monday, you’d be hard-pressed to take in the whole thing.
Thankfully, NowThis News just produced a live-reading of the script with various professional actors such as Rob Corddry, who said in a press release, “It’s pretty eye-opening to imagine Steve Bannon writing this. People need to see it to believe it.”
From that same announcement, NowThis highlighted a few quotes:
Quotes from The Thing I Am:
“They say! Fuck they! They hang out shooting pool and think they know what’s going down – who’s up, who’s out, who bounds, and if there’s crack enough. If I had my way, I’d make a quarry of these slaves.”
“Whoever deserves greatness, wants their hate. Peep game, boy. To count on them for favors is to swim with fins of lead.”
[He turns back to the mob.]
“So fuck you! Trust you? Ha! With each passing minute, you change your common mind. You call him noble that was once your enemy, then dis your king. You cry against the “other” – crackers, Blood, Crip, popo, Pol, the rich – it don’t matter, niggas; awe keeps you feeding each another.”
Watch the video above.