What is Spoken Word Poetry and Is There A Future For this Subgenre

What is Spoken Word? Is it really hip hop??? One thing that’s certain is that more and more hip hop fans are allowing Spoken Word into their cribs. Does Spoken Word have what it takes to make it mainstream?

Poetry slam; ideas of dimly lit cafes, mahogany tables, free spirited individuals of all colors, dreadlocked hair humbly standing on a stage in front of others like them, speaking of oppression, struggle, history, and truth – Not exactly the image that record labels try to market within the rap and hip hop genre, huh? But despite not being the most known sect of hip hop, spoken word continues to push forward through the waves of marketable mainstream music and make its’ presence felt within the worldwide urban community.

Now, before we can hop into the “locks” of spoken word, we need to travel right to the roots and explore the core of the art, and the long history which surrounds spoken word poetry. The true essence of music isn’t built on the instrumentals, or flashy marketable stereotypes, and infectious hooks; instead the essence of music finds its’ roots right within the words, and in order to take an actual look into the heart of music we have to look past the catchy beats, and “blinged” filled videos, and peer right into the words that the artist speaks… hence, spoken word.

Simply seeing the term, “spoken word”, images of a lone man or woman on stage with nothing but a microphone, and a voice box to produce rhythm come to mind, allowing us to relive a moment in time, or experience an emotion; that essentially is the definition of Spoken Word poetry, the act of reading a literary work or poem out loud. However, we have to keep in mind that Spoken Word poets do not necessarily follow the conventional “guidelines” of poetry (remember trying to count syllables and stanzas in the back of your grade 11 English class during the poetry unit?).

Guidelines don’t exist within Spoken Word, instead a different approach is taken, which offers a more free flowing, and open ended style of poetry where there are no real limitations, and a poet is essentially able to do what they please. In fact, Spoken Word extends itself into all different artistic styles, ranging from the recitals and performances of poetic works by Shakespeare and further manifesting itself into hip hop music, all through the use of rhythm and words.

As far as looking at where it all started, there really isn’t a specific time, or group that opened up the world of Spoken Word, but it can be said that it’s most basic form has existed for centuries, ever since mankind learned how to communicate with those vocal chords (Rahzel would have had his own shrine back then).
But, we can still attribute the creation of Spoken Word back to times of ancient chants, and tribal story telling that have swayed generations, which really is the epitome and true primal nature of Spoken Word, the act of communicating with others through words. Read more from DropMagazine

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Showcasing the best in Kenyan Arts;Music,writing,Poetry,fine art and art reviews as well as info on emerging art trends. “Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite…getting something down.”