I’m An MC…Don’t Call Me A Poet

27 Sep

LKJ…Or just call me a Hip Hop Artist. A lot of lovely people I know introduce me to their friends as a poet followed by author and then maybe rap artist or an MC. I understand it’s all about perception and it is indeed all semantics but I don’t call myself a poet. Maya Angelou, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Sonia Sanchez are great poets, but I wouldn’t call them MCs. I wouldn’t call Rakim, Busta Rhymes or Rodney P poets either (unless that’s what they wanted to be known as) I’d call them MCs. The word that best describes me is an ARTIST which encompasses the myriad of labels that come under that including musician, lyricist, poet, storyteller, emcee, wordsmith, creative, alchemist, magician, lyrical thinker etc. In my attempt not to be labelled or limited, I labelled myself which was intentional as well as contradicting. Rap as an art isn’t always given the respect I believe it deserves for obvious reasons. The negative stereotypes ascribed to Rap means that when Rap doesn’t resemble the crude, the derogatory, the bling, the gangsta, the egotistical then it can’t possibly be rap anymore it’s poetry – a type of classism if you will prevails in our minds. I teach children that RAP is Rhythm And Poetry and it should be looked upon as sacredly as poetry. That even if they love the crack rap that the gangsta gatekeepers provide them, there is more to hear that they aren’t privy to. The problem I have when being described as a poet instead of an MC or Hip Hop artist is that you ignore the nuances and beauty of my chosen poetic expression. Of course my ego is in full effect here as I’d rather my name be brought up when people discuss who their favourite MC is as opposed to their favourite poet. (Maya Angelou)
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I bring balance (alongside countless other artists) to the minds and ears of both young and old, male and female regarding Hip Hop Music. In certain arenas “a poet” isn’t looked at as being honourable and beautiful (which it is) it’s looked upon as being soft, boring and “I don’t have to pay you that much for you to do a show” so rightly or wrongly I prefer not to be looked at as a poet in those instances. I am more than just a person that raps on the mic but how do you label this MC, modern day westernised Griot reciting Hip Hop Oríkì (praise poetry) for people, author, entrepreneur, a Director of an educational Hip Hop company, a creative consultant, a workshop facilitator, an encourager, an innovator, an atmosphere changer, a healer? Maybe that’s why it’s hard for people to place me or label me. (Rakim) ->
RakimYesterday it dawned on me that I might not be who I think I am, I might be more than I can ever imagine. Only God knows the depth that He gives us. I don’t do the things in the way the majority of artists are “supposed” to do things. Over the years I’ve offered more services than I have product. That’s why you hardly ever see my name come up in this game of Hip Hop in the UK and I’ve been in this game for years circa ’97. And this game is all about product and I get it, so now I’m giving you more product. Only it might not just be an EP or mix tape or album or a show. It might be another book, it might be a play, it might be a comic, it might be a sticker (they’re cool). Anyway I think I’ve said enough, feel free to share your views.

- BREIS, Your Favourite MC
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3 Responses to “I’m An MC…Don’t Call Me A Poet”

  1. Neteru September 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    Actually a very good write up, explains the “I’m an MC, dont call me a poet” comment in its fullest and I get where you were coming from further….thank you.
    You raise some very valuable points about how the creative arts industry views ‘poets’ compared to other artists – furthermore I would like to add that it’s all about how each artist see’s themselves as a product with services to render. When their service to humanity is matched by the demand for them as the product their value is priceless and their worth increases as public interest and desire grows….the audience want to be in love with anyone they spend they monies on and or love what they are investing in….

    Example…I bought every Jill Scott Album I could get me hands on simply because I fell in love with her lyrics, the beats created “emotion” and feelings…therefore I paid for me as that was the only way to receive more. One the other hand…if the only exposure I had to Jill was via open mic night or charity events and youtube I may well be less inclined to run and buy her album!!

    It is the responsibility of the artist to market themselves in a way that their product has its worth well stamped on it and no event or organization even dare think they can hire, book, and treat them less than they are worth or simply offer travel and subsistence!

    Know Your Worth.
    Feed the Supply and Demand Pool.
    Stay true to you.
    Breis, one of the greatest gifts you have is to Inspire and Motivate others just by being yourself, yet you have skills beyond many artists and being multi talented and vari-faceted.

    There is a powerful charge of energy in the air this year and a wind that is blowing with your name whispered within it BREIS…like a breeze….just as I grew up knowing about Benjamin Zephaniah & Gil Scot-Heron…I would like children everywhere to grow up knowing about Breis…my mother played both these artists records (it was vinyl back then) and as a mother myself I bump down ‘The Brilliant Ep’ from my iPod and mek them know….may this tradition carry on and more of Breis’ (good vibes & music) for the household catch on!

    *the home is where we create our sanctuary, thats why we want good music playing morning, noon or night and once an Artist gets in to our homes….he/she lives in our hearts and on our playlists….then we carry them from home to school, college, work, party, club, in the car and back home again….sometimes we have em in our ears plugged in 24/7 & as soon as they give us ‘new’ we buy more…the product? Is the result of individual expressions grouped and fused together to edutain, refresh the brain and spiritually uplift again! U do this very well indeed Breis and I for one look fwd to seeing what u do on a much bigger world wide scale!

    Yes…more product please…give thanks.

    • Neteru September 27, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      And it can be comics, postcards, greeting cards even, t-shirts, key rings, hats, caps, rounders bats…anything thats positive, useful, quirky, different and with a unique selling point will be lapped up by the masses in mass! ….all the best I a wish you!

  2. uns0b October 1, 2013 at 12:51 am #

    truth. artist.

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