…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)
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) ->
Yesterday 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.