Speak Your Truth: Subculture and the Mainstream

09th June 2018 19:00
St Pancras Room, Kings Place
90 York Way, London, N1 9AG
Spoken word poetry, born from the spirit of the blues and hip-hop, was once seen as non-conforming and illegitimate; unworthy of the title of ‘poetry’ at all.

In the music world, the same was once thought of hip-hop itself, jazz and many other now popular and established genres.

How are subcultures reflected in mainstream music and poetry? What happens when subculture starts to become part of the mainstream? Where do we draw the line between the two? Where do we draw the line between poetry and lyrics?

We will be joined by gal-dem's Music Editor Antonia Odunlami to explore the answers to all these questions and more. Featuring performances by The Repeat Beat Poet and story-teller rapper-poet Otis Mensah in an evening of the unconventional and extraordinary.

Editor, writer, specialist radio producer and DJ, Antonia Odunlami is passionate about documenting and championing emerging artists bubbling from sub-cultures within her east London home and further afield, wide-ranging global sounds that drive the new wave of artists on the rise.

Peter deGraft-Johnson is The Repeat Beat Poet, a London-based poet and emcee who fuses stream-of-consciousness writing and Hip Hop culture to capture and extend moments of time, thought, and feeling. The Repeat Beat Poet has performed at The Royal Albert Hall, the Edinburgh Fringe, represented the University of East London at UniSlam, and is the reigning Nozslam Champion. Peter also regularly produces and hosts the monthly nights Boomerang, and PenTing. His debut poetry show D.O.W.N will be performed in October 2018.

Otis Mensah is "a young story-teller-rapper-poet with a talent for drawing the poetic from the everyday happenings in his life.” The alternative hip-hop artist has risen from a new wave; age and era, embodying a contemporary, poetic take on hip-hop music. The music he creates sheds light on existential commonalities discovered through introspection with often off-kilter lyrics, accompanied by a sentimental vibe. Otis’ music almost appears as a stream of consciousness, as though the young artist is documenting a journey of thought, however drowned in playful imagery and unconventional symbolism left open to interpretation. It’s not unusual to hear Otis’ lyrics accompanied by a boom-bap sounding hip-hop instrumental with a mellow and soulful feel, drawing from influences such as Mos Def, Common & The Roots.
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