Month: June 2015

The Lyric Review : Black Rage – Lauryn Hill

Gemini season is upon us, and for some strange reason this season has birthed many of today’s beloved hip-hop favorites including Andre 3000, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur to name a few.  Regardless of how much you may like or dislike these artists, there’s one undeniable trait that these artists have in common – the ability to be unapologetically true to themselves. This trait can occasionally have negative side effects, but little is greater than knowing who you are, your gifts and flaws, and still having the courage to share those intimate components of self with the world.  “Black Rage”, a song by a hip-hop artist, actress, songstress, and Gemini, Lauryn Hill, gives us a glimpse of the importance of self-knowledge and courage on the societal level.

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Re/Verb : The Open Mic Pt. 1 – Idlewild

When you listen to The Open Mic Pt. 1, LISTEN. Turn off your TV, tell your friend to hush, go on a walk, ignore your cellphone.  Idlewild’s ‘The Open Mic Pt. 1′ demands your attention, and if you’re not listening, you’ll miss everything.

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Dopeness : Burundi – Saul Williams

Saul Williams is little else than an innovator in the Spoken Word community.  With movie and broadways credits, meaningful written word, as well as multiple albums worthy of acclaim, Saul Williams has done it all.

With a new album on the horizon, MartyrLoserKing, Saul has officially released his newest track, Burundi.  Burundi is a treasure trove of lyrical flair examining technology, activism, and the current social unrest in Burundi/ Central Africa.

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Re/Verb : What You Will Need In Class Today – Matthew Foley

Matthew Foley is a teacher.

By teacher, I don’t mean someone paid to stand in classrooms, repeat text books word for word, and assign classwork.

By teacher, I mean someone committed to the education and well-being of future generations.

Matthew Foley is a teacher.

As an active writer and Spoken Word artist, Foley takes his teachings beyond the classroom.  Entertaining and uplifting, Foley specializes in pastoral, often bohemian imagery that is irresistibly inspirational while smacking of spirituality.  Foley’s debut album, What You will Need In Class Today, combines these stylings with Foley’s passion for the classroom.  The result is a classic spoken word album with great production, that should be celebrated by pop-folk poets nationwide.


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Say Hello To The Bad Guy (Featuring) : Tommy Bottoms

Tommy Bottoms is a fire-starter in the Spoken Word community.  Maybe “fire-starter” is putting it nicely, but with connectionsTommy Bottoms 5 throughout the Spoken community and poetry that is both entertaining and mind-opening,  no one can deny the work that he has put into his craft.

As co-host of The Ugly Truth Radio, perennial performer for BET’s Lyric Cafe and Russell Simmons presents… Def Poetry Jam, and writer/producer of Educated Gangster 101, Bottoms is a veteran of the Spoken Word scene and ongoing innovator.

His skills have taken him throughout the United States to universities such as Morehouse College, Tuskegee University, and Auburn University, as well as abroad to London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East.  His work has brought him in contact with Spoken Word greats like Amir Sulaiman, Queen Sheba, Malik Salaam, and Jon Goode.  Tommy Bottoms has been around the game.

Tommy Bottoms with shiny headHe has a style all his own.  Each one of his performances treads the line of melodic and lyrical, yet aggressively intellectual.  His subject matter – most often sociopolitical, tackles complex problems while remaining accessible to a wide range of audiences.   With clever word play and booming voice, he commands an audience’s attention with words as entertaining as they are prolific.  However, Bottoms lives his poetry.  He is unafraid to piss off his audience if the message needs to be heard, and loves to shine an unflinching light on the ugly side of things.


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