The Record of the Ten Foot Square Hut

The Record of the Ten Foot Square Hut

Sucker Nippers better step — MC Kamo-no-Chomei in the hut.


Kamo-no-Chomei was a 12th-century Japanese recluse. Overwhelmed by the vanity of worldy affairs, he fled to the wilderness to spend his last years in a tiny hut. He wrote a lovely book about his life, his hut, and his thoughts.

When I read this little book I thought: “This is a perfect opportunity for me to become a hip-hop artist!”

Kamo-no-Chomei’s best friend during his reclusion was a ten-year-old boy, with whom he would wander through the country, being amazed by natural things and eating wild foods. I imagine that the boy would have made an excellent hype man.

Here are the lyrics, all of which are somehow derived from the contents of Chomei’s “Record of the Ten Foot Square Hut”:

The river flows and goes; it’s on unceasingly.
Whatever water is, it’s other than it’s gonna be.
Bubbles on the surface disappear, they don’t endure for long;
And all the nippers that I knew back in the day are gone.

I seen a tremor, seen a fire, seen a typhoon;
Pray to Amida, ’cause I know I’m gonna die soon.
Did I hear a sucker nipper say “what”?
This is the record of the ten foot square hut.

Sucker nippers buildin houses like they gonna last.
They don’t know shit about the future; they forgot the past.
But I ain’t stressin ’cause it’s nothin that I wanna grab.
Pick up my house and I can move it like a hermit crab.

Don’t interrupt me when I’m flowin’ on my koto,
Inflatin, imitatin the ways of Minamoto.
Live in the mountains, I don’t never wanna own a gun;
Rock the evanescent like my girl, Sei Shonagon.

Now did I hear a sucker nipper say “what”?
This is the record of the ten foot square hut.

In my declining years I deign to live alone.
I drop the mic, I drop the brush, I drop the inkstone.
But then I pick ’em up again so I can write a rhyme.
You suckers hastin, but I’m wastin all your precious time.

Don’t even matter, ’cause you know my flow is pleasant.
My mom and pop is out there cryin like a pheasant.
Ever present evanescence is my lesson, and it’s funky.
I shed a tear when I’m wailin with a monkey.

But I pity sucker nippers ’cause they don’t know how to rap at all;
Lose all their money every time they move the capital.
Did you hear the news? I never get the blues,
Chumpin sucker nippers with particular views.

I’m a lonely rajaputra, I don’t have to pay no rent.
When I read the Lotus Sutra I’m about to pitch a tent.
Never harm a living creature, I don’t wanna get bent.
I can kick it with the dharma, ’cause my karma’s all spent.

That’s why I’m droppin all the servants and the loot, so
When I get tired of intoning the Nembutso,
That’s when I’m rollin with my homie who is ten, yo.
We picking cogon grass — don’t even need a hoe.

All you sucker nippers know my crib is so fly,
Because I like small huts, and I cannot lie.