Black Culture

The Lyric Review: Alright – Kendrick Lamar

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Summer 2015 has proven to be quite the summer, especially for the United States. In a little over a month, our southern states have been left harrowed by tragedies that will impact this nation for years to come. Amidst rising social, emotional, and political tensions, there has been one song in particular that has emerged preeminent months after its initial release.

While on the rise to anthem status, “Alright” has served as a catalyst to rejuvenate the morale of those who have felt  the disparaging outlook of minorities in this country. Although considered one of the more upbeat tracks on Kendrick’s latest body of work, “Alright” explores a slew of melancholic themes laced with moments of genuine hopefulness. This volatile mixture creates the most visceral of reactions, that are as cacophonous as they are symphonic.  Somewhere within the intensity of his vocal delivery, the meticulousness of his wordplay, and between the layers of Jazz, Motown and Hip Hop there is a foundation of honesty entrenched in his work.  It is this honesty that allows us to trust and respect his art. As a master storyteller, Kendrick conjures explicit imagery with every word. “Alright” mirrors the layered experience of being human, and heavily combats the notion of respectability politics. (more…)

Re/Verb : VERBicide – Jeff de Verb

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VERBicide by Jeff De Verb is a lyrical offering from the many perspectives of a maturing Spoken Word poet.  The energy throughout the project keeps things fresh, while the slick wordplay brings one back again and again.

Poet Jeff De Verb opens the project like a love letter from one mind to another. He takes his time in speaking to his lady,Jeff de empowering her and showering her with his affections. However, after the heartfelt poem ‘The Valley‘, everything about the project shifts drastically. (more…)

Dopeness: Separate From Separation -Will & Jordan Miller

Group pieces are always fun.  Your typical group piece takes ample time and practice to create a single profound and succinct message.  The message touched on by Separate From Separation is one of love and unity.

The video, itself, builds a tone with soft background music, and is powerful in its minimalist nature. Despite, how little there is going on in the video, the separation of the speakers is striking and obvious.  This a dope piece, but even doper video.

Dopeness: Negro – Christian Richardson

“I’m here to strike fear into a utopia”.

Christian Richardson has tapped into the root of the Spoken Word movement with this piece, ‘Negro‘.  Loud, passionate, and revolutionary, Richardson holds nothing back in his authentic diatribe and look into his culture.  Short and sweet, this piece is a spark waiting to light a greater fire to come.

Dopeness : The Top Secret Recipe For Aunt Phyliss’ Fried Chicken – Michael Harriot

The recipe for a great Spoken Word poem:

A tablespoon of witty word play.

Two cups of Hard-hitting imagery.

Three teaspoons of thought-provoking.

A pinch of dramatic performance.

First, mix your wordplay, performance, and imagery until a compelling flow is created.

Then, when the crowd is connected to the piece, sneak in your teaspoons of thought-provoking.

Mix well, bake beneath a lime-light for 3 minutes.

Voila.



“The Top Secret Recipe For Aunt Phyliss’ Fried Chicken.”  Poignant in it’s deception of the audience’s expectations, this poem is great for many reasons.  This classic will grab hold of your attention, and may not let go.

What did you like about this piece? Do you want to see more like it?  Let us know in a comment below.

(W)Rap-Up : A Word From Our Ancestors — A Night of Poetry at the APEX Museum

Lady Vee’s event, A Word From Our Ancestors, was, in a word, classic.  Nice suits walked confidently through the halls of the APEX museum, a building dedicated to the history behind the black struggle.  With powerhouse poets like Vitamin D, Yo’ Sista, and Crazy Legs performing; the night proved to be a high-energy spectacle.
Poetry People (more…)

Art & Renaissance (Featuring) Camil. Williams

Camil Williams is a recent transplant from Chicago just trying to settle into the Atlanta vibe.  As a world traveler and troubadour, she is more than experienced in her art.  I’m putting emphasis on the word ‘art’, because Williams is more than just a poet, she is an artistic powerhouse and renaissance woman.

She has performed and presented art workshops at a host of conferences, high schools, and universities; locally and abroad, as part of the women centered activist-performance duo, AquaMoon. Using Hip Hop Feminism as a tool for creating awareness and dialogue on issues that marginalize and affect women of color, the duo co-authored several choreopoems, including Love Does Not Hurt and Aqua Beats and Moon Verses Vol. I.

Williams has also authored and released her debut, Butta to Fly: a collection of poetry, art and music (2007). Her artworks have been featured in the Ascend: Live Art and Jazz Showcase and the Humboldt Park Art Exhibit in Chicago. She’s appeared in several short and full-length films, including The Lies We Tell and Secrets We Keep and the hit web series, Between Women. She also writes and produces music for commercials, films and stage productions.

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