Dopeness: Ghetto – Paulie Lipman

This piece is a ‘knowledge-dropper’.  I made up that word, but the idea remains.

Paulie Lipman is more than just entertaining in this piece.  The piece is made to teach.  This piece is an analysis of the words we use, and our collective amnesia of the meaning that lies behind them.  The focus of this piece is on the word, “Ghetto”, but the lesson to be gained is so much more expansive.

5 Songs That You Never Knew Were Samples

5 Songs That You Never Knew Were Samples        

Have you ever heard a new song on the radio that sounds really good? Got a great beat, deep lyrics and a catchy bridge. You don’t know the title of it, but the more you listen to it, the more something about that beat, those lyrics, and that bridge sounds like a song you’ve heard before.

That “new” song on the radio was more than likely a sample. Artists sample songs more than you’d think. A sample being when a musician takes parts (rhythm, lyrics, beats, etc) of older songs and tweaks/blatantly reuses those parts to form a new song.

As an avid music aficionada, I personally find it fun to search for r&b, hip-hop, and rap artists that have taken parts of older songs and created new tunes of their own. (more…)

(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…)

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.

lauryn_hill_103112 (more…)

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.

Idlewild 3 (more…)

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.


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.


Dopeness : The Rhetoric

Ever hear of Lyric Michelle?  Chicago born, Houston raised — Poet/MC and feature of the latest Dopeness.  Powerful subject matter meets robust wordplay against a dope background track.  Lyric Michelle weaves a story that needs to be heard, you need only listen to The Rhetoric.

Original poem , “The Rhetoric” is performed over “Intro”, the introductory track to MissDirectionLP produced by Chris Rockaway.

Shot by Jay Tovar

Edited by Lyric Michelle

Find Lyric Michelle : 

Souf Chase : Souf of the Border


SoufChase, The Orange Ninja

“I rhyme words with orange.”

Rue 77 is a real cozy scene.  Red tints on black bodies — the room is an ember.  The DJ is just warming up as Courtnay the Poet, the evening’s host, begins to dazzle.  Enter SoufChase.  Souf is energy.  He makes the room buzz as navigates the neo-soul lounge connecting with those in attendance.  People love Souf, but when it comes time to share that same energy onstage, Souf wasn’t about to disappoint.

**Hold the salt and the lime.
I don’t need that.
Just get me a glass from the flask with the green tag.
Watch me make the bottle disappear like “Did you see that?!”
You’ll be looking at the bottom asking yourself, “Where’s the leak at?”

SoufChase is where funny meets hip-hop lyricism with a beat all its own. (more…)

Echo Chambers : An Evolution of Spoken Forms

Saul WilliamsA (Very) Brief History of Poetic Performance

It’s never easy to say where exactly an art form comes from.  The oratory tradition, itself, dates back to our earliest days when story telling was among the best ways to gather and spread information.  Through the passage of time, the oral tradition has ranged in traction and importance but has always been prevalent. For instance, dating back to the 14th Century, the West African ‘griot’ was not just a poet/bard, but was often a royal adviser. During the Grecian Olympic games, the use of of poetry known as ‘lyric’ was used to commence the ceremonies.  Even today, different oratorical poetic movements exist throughout the world, and provide a voice for the human experience.

What is our Modern Oratorical Tradition?

Spoken-word is a very recent phenomenon starting in the 1960s. Post-modernist in origin, spoken-word appealed to the underground black and beatnik scenes born out of the Harlem Renaissance.  The Last Poets were early leaders in the art form, a form that inspired not just the catalysis of the spoken-word revolution, but early forms of hip-hop as well.