Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Are you a fan of spoken word? The definition of spoken-word is a form of literary art or artistic performance in which lyrics, poetry, or stories are spoken rather than sung. Spoken-word is often done with a musical background, but emphasis is kept on the speaker. A lot music fans that I have conversed with about spoken-word think it’s pretty corny! Some feel that all of the artists sound alike and are pretty much boring overall. Isn’t it funny how that definition above kind of sounds like they are actually describing rap music. They are similar in many ways, but there is a distinct difference. Rapping is about having a lyrical flow and keeping in cadence with the beat, but in spoken word those things are not that important. Some spoken-word artists have become rappers to gain more notoriety and success, because the reality is that spoken word genre is not that lucrative. Other than getting a chance to perform on Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam or at some local coffee house most of spoken-word artists go unheard by the masses. Even though it’s an established art form, it still hasn’t gotten the respect it deserves.

One of my favorite spoken-word artists is definitely Ursula Rucker from Philadelphia. She was the first artist that made me actually pay attention to the whole spoken-word movement back in the 1990s. Ursula is known for her diverse repertoire and for utilizing techniques that catch listeners’ attention, which have brought her critical acclaim over the years. Her stories are very vivid and engrossing, which in some cases can leave listeners amazed, yet disturbed by the negative realities that she sometimes brings to light. She has collaborated with several diverse artists over the years like King Britt, 4hero, Jazzanova and most notably The Roots. Ms. Rucker has contributed spoken words on the three of The Roots albums over the years, which just happen to some of my favorite Rucker moments. She has three albums Supa Sistas (2001), Silver and Lead (2003) and Ma’at Mama (2006), which are all pretty good in my personal opinion. She keeps it raw though, so if you’re looking for nursery school rhymes you should probably keep it moving. She’s not raunchy like Millie Jackson, but she can damn sure tell a good story.

Another new school poet that I enjoy a lot is Rich Medina. He’s also a deejay, producer, musician and promoter as well, so this dude is pretty deep on the underground scene. He has one album called Connecting the Dots that was definitely overlooked by the masses back in 2005. This was a well-rounded album that really exposed all sides of Mr. Medina’s talent. The album had a nice mixture of spoken-word, jazz, house, hip-hop, soul and afro-beat. It still gets some heavy rotation from time to time. He has remixed and produced tracks for several well respected artists like Jill Scott, Martin Luther, Sy Smith and Platinum Pied Pipers. Rich Medina stays close to his deejay roots by regularly playing at night clubs and underground gigs all over NYC. Make sure you check Mr. Medina out live if you get a chance because it’s always a unique experience during his performances. If you are interested in hearing some spoken-word artists, the two aforementioned artists above is a good place to start. If you don’t want to jump right into the hardcore stuff there are several other artists that have spoken-word tendencies. These artists can ease you into the whole spoken-word movement slowly and soulfully until you are ready to advance. Checkout out albums from artists like Me’Shell N’degeocello, Jill Scott, Ledisi, N’Dambi, W. Ellington Felton, Amanda Diva, Medusa and Malik Yusef who have borrowed several pages from the spoken-word book from time to time to keep their sound musically diverse. Maybe, one day spoken-word will get the respect it deserves, but even if it doesn’t I will still remain a fan.

To bring the spoken-word movement point home, I have decided to incorporate some of my favorite spoken-word moments into my latest mixx that I call the ‘Spoken Soulfully Mixx!’ It’s definitely soulful, plus I mixed it up with some new and dope tracks as well to balance things out, so get it while you can.


01~Jill Scott - Wanna Be Loved
02~N'Dambi - Soul From The Abyss
03~W. Ellington Felton ft. Erro - Postcards From The Edge
04~Ursula Rucker ft. Ovasoul - Brown Boy
05~Panacea ft. Raheem DeVaughn - Flashback to Stardom
06~Ledisi - Get To Know You
07~Liv Warfield - Groove DJ
08~Jill Scott - My Love
09~Tweek - Love
10~Jamal Dr. - Oh No
11~Me'Shell N'degeocello - Lovely Lovely
12~Julie Dexter - The Dove
13~Hezekiah ft. Muhsinah - The Beginning
14~Rich Medina ft. Martin Luther - Too Much
15~Jill Scott - Honey Molasses
16~Floetry - Let Me In
17~Bilal Salaam - Draw The Shades
18~Ursula Rucker - The Adventures In Wonderland
19~Andre 3000 - Chromomentrophobia
20~Me'Shell N'degeocello ft. Marcus Miller - Rush Over


Check out these artists:


natural muze said...

look at you showing love to the poets! great post. i'm gonna have to download all these songs that i don't have. whooo hooo!

Anonymous said...

awesome stuff...
any chance this is available in a tracked version?

Butta said...

This mix is the absolute hotness. Loving how you incorporated the new Jill Scott.

SupremeAntBee said...

This looks like a great mix! I've been digging Ursula Rucker ever since Sylk 130. Thanks for turning me on to some new Poets!