Poetry

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…)

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: 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.

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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Dopeness : Capoeira – Noah St. John

This is a spoken word performance by Noah St. John. One of my friends put me on to this a few weeks ago, and it just woke me up creatively.

Noah speaks about practicing the Brazilian art of Capoeira, which was born during a time of African slavery. Capoeira incorporates songs, flexible acrobatics, and is played almost like a game. Noah displays all of those elements in his performance.  He sets aside the mic stand from the beginning and makes use of the entire floor space. He admits that this art form is not from his culture, but that he is borrowing it in order to understand and share in the experience.

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Re/Verb : #GradLife – Sans

gradlife

Re/Verb is an analysis of poets and the works that they make, however, Sans (aka Sterling Higa) is more than just a poet.  Sans is a Hawaii native (Aloha and CHEE-HOO to all my people in Ewa Beach), public speaker, and scholar with a new project that runs in the vein of Lil Wayne’s ‘No Ceilings’.  The album#GradLife, is a one man slaughter-fest of industry beats.

#GradLife (a cappella)

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The Lyric Review: Female Energy – Willow Smith

At 14 years of age Willow Smith does a lot more than just whip her hair. In a few short years, we have watched this young lady go from simply sharing her appetite for wonder to exploring topics in a way that people rarely share. It is remarkable to watch her growth and there is no better song to highlight that growth than ”Female Energy”.

Willow-Smith-HEART

Listening to “Female Energy” makes you feel as though you’re meditating somewhere above the Milky Way. The sound is tranquil with futuristic elements, and some of Willow’s ad-libs are reminiscent of spiritual chanting. It’s one of those songs on your playlist that you just relax and vibe to.  Lyrically, the song is beautiful and contains a refreshing amount of thought and depth.  It explores the process of letting your own energy manifest while learning how to let go.

But let’s dig a little deeper into it. (more…)

Re/Verb Book Review : Love is for SUCKERS – Nate Mask

Re/Verb is expanding into book review territory to give writers and lyricists a chance to promote their work on page.  The challenge it takes to get a book printed and published in any form is worth great merit.  The poets featured not only took great strides in writing these works, they took further strides in the production of a means to distribute this art.

The debut writer featured in our Re/Verb Book Review is Nate Mask, an artist who has been quickly gaining esteem in Atlanta’s Spoken community.  His ability to remain sincere in all crowds has garnered him a following respectful of his ability and tenacity.

Love is for SUCKERS is my second book”, he says. “the first was called ‘Well This Is Awkward…’. My inspiration really just comes from personal experiences. Poetry really started as therapy for me, so most of my poems start out as something that I feel like I need to get out. This book in particular started out kind of as a joke because it’s not really what I thought people would expect from me, but then I realized that I had a lot of material, and it morphed into a look at my growth as a person and in my relationships.

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