Hamlet Mixtapes
What are the Hamlet Mixtapes?

Hamlet Mixtapes by the Underground Kings

The incarcerated scholars at Burruss Correctional connected deeply with Shakespeare’s Hamlet. These mixtapes embody this connection.

It wasn’t an immediate bond. Jumal, for instance,  was initially skeptical. “I didn’t want to read Hamlet,” he writes, “Because I have always had a hard time with white people shit. I don’t intend to be offensive, but most of the time the material is just corny.” But reading the play changed his perspective. “The crazy paradox is that there is the same tragedy among us here in prison as in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.” Hamlet, Jumal explains, is an “underground king” whose title, honor, and rights have been stolen by Denmark’s complicity in structural injustice—just like the brilliant, oppressed, and cerebral men he is proud to call his classmates.  

“We are all underground kings,” Jumal declares. His classmate Xavier affirms this: “I am Hamlet.”

As part of our exploration of Hamlet, the scholars enacted scenes, participated in spirited discussions, watched film versions, and wrote essays. They also created mixtape playlists that characters like Claudius, Hamlet, and the Ghost might listen to, recognizing that music is one of the most profound ways that we process our emotions. 

This website exists so that, using Spotify playlists, these mixtapes can be shared with the world. As you listen to each playlist, you are jamming with the underground kings: Xavier, Buford, Ryan, Larry, Kaden, Jumal, Elijah, Jackson, Devarius, Sherman, William T., William S., Mark, Nathaniel, and Farrah.

Special thanks to Dr. Sarah (Sadie) Warren for visiting our class at Burruss Correctional and creating this website.

Dr. Sarah Higinbotham

Assistant Professor of English (Emory Oxford College)

Co-Founder of Common Good Atlanta