The literary world was thrown into turmoil today when it emerged that Seamus Heaney was working on a collection prior to his death that was entirely composed of gangster rap. Heaney’s late works don’t display the “lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past” which won him the Nobel Prize, but instead focus on “fine brandy, fat blunts and even fatter booty.”
Private correspondence unearthed after the poet’s death earlier this year reveal Heaney’s long time interest in the rap game and his burgeoning MC skills – an original draft of his most famous poem reading “Between my finger and my thumb, the squat pen rests; snug as a gun. I’ll dig yo grave with it, bitch.” He was a huge fan of hip-hop from its earliest days (he was especially fond of the east coast scene) and was “just getting into the more modern ‘trap’-style production” according to his wife. In a letter to fellow poet Ted Hughes he lists his top 5 albums, his number one choice being The Notorious B.I.G.’s 1994 opus ‘Ready To Die’
“For me” he wrote, “nothing is more sublime than the opening bars of ‘Machine Gun Funk’”. He also mentions enjoying west coast ‘G-Funk’ and paid particularly close attention to the mid-90’s feud that emerged between east and west coast rappers, resulting in the still-unsolved murders of ‘Biggie’ and Tupac Shakur. “‘Who Shot Ya?’ indeed”, he lamented when writing to Carol Ann Duffy.
The Northern Irish born poet was said to be worried about the direction in which modern rap is heading, claiming “that pussy Drake” was dragging the genre away from its roots. “Someone just get him a box of tissues and tell him to get a fucking grip, you know?”
Rap sociologists are intrigued by the Nobel laureate’s late conversion. “It’s not unusual for someone who grew up in such a troubled environment to turn to rap to express themselves.” says professor Shawn Carter. “From what I understand there was a lot of gang activity in the area which he tried not to get involved in. It is unusual however for this to only manifest when someone is in their 70s.”
Heaney had been recording his own freestyles for some years and frequently posted clips on youtube under the pseudonym ‘Mos Heinous’. Despite his obvious talent for rapping, in recent months he had taken to calling out rappers online in an attempt to boost his credibility: “Chris Brown come holla at me if you think you have the stones. I got a 24 foot coffin with your name on it you scraggy wee shit.”
These revelations about Mr Heaney’s secret rap alter ego finally make sense of the somewhat macabre inscription he requested be put on his tombstone, now understood to be a Jay-Z quote:
I’m a hustler homey, you a customer crony.
Got some, dirt on my shoulders, could you brush it off for me?