[Editor’s warning: The Prep-Unit video linked to in this article will inspire hilarity. Swallow you sip of tea first, and please watch responsibly!]
Like it or not, in the minds of many people tea still has a reputation as being a somewhat stodgy item favored by aging ladies with garish hats nibbling sandwiches with the crusts painstakingly trimmed off. Though it should be noted that this image has been undergoing some revision in recent years.
Even so, it seems that the genteel pursuit of tea and the hard-edged aggression that characterizes so much of rap music would make for strange bedfellows. None of which has stopped a number of rappers from turning out paeans to tea, several of which have had considerable success as viral videos.
One of the earliest and most successful of these is Tea Partay, by a “group” called Prep-Unit. Put together to sing the praises of a tea-flavored alcoholic beverage from Smirnoff, the song and video are a rap-themed spoof of the upper classes. In the six years or so since it debuted on YouTube it’s racked up more than six million views. The masterminds behind this project followed up with a similar effort, Green Tea Partay, a few years later, but it was not nearly as much of a hit as its predecessor.
The British rapper/entertainer, Professor Elemental, describes himself as “a steampunk mad professor.” He is probably best known for his song/video Cup of Brown Joy, in which he chronicles the many joys of tea while dressed as a stereotypical nineteenth English explorer. The video first hit YouTube in 2008 and has since racked up well over a million views. More at Elemental’s site.
Not surprisingly, The Calm-A-Sutra of Tea, a video scholarship contest sponsored by Tea Council of the USA over the course of several years, spawned a number of musical entries, including at least one rap. M.C. Green Tea is hardly a sensation, but The Tea Rap, his entry in the 2009 Calm-A-Sutra contest, was an entertaining effort. And while it’s stretching a point to call Tea is for Me!, another Calm-A-Sutra entry, a rap, the song is catchy and the production values are a cut above most of the entries and it’s worth a look.
Perhaps the best of the bunch of tea-themed rap videos, as far as music and production values are concerned, is Jamie Broad’s A Nice Cup of Tea, which rolled out to YouTube very recently. It’s another catchy tune that presents a more or less practical guide to making and drinking tea and has already racked up a respectable number of views.
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