Poet and occasional ‘Ninja Paul Vermeersch unleashes a scathing rant against spoken word on his blog. Should be interesting to see how this pans out.
Now, when I say the meters and rhythms are forced and contrived, I mean that if you could see the words written out on a page, and if you applied the most basic principles of English scansion to the composition (I’m loathe to call it a poem), you would find that almost all of the stresses in the delivery of the composition are not naturally there in the writing. In short, the rhythm of the piece as performed is quite different to the rhythm of the piece as written, thus, the rhythms, while over-exaggerated, are also forced and contrived, probably because the author lacks the skills required to get the meter of his own writing the way he wants it.
Sadly, many of the compositions in this genre carry with them a message of social or civic outrage. This is kind of noble, I know, but the delivery is usually intended to scold the audience for their implied complacency in, or culpability for, some on-going social injustice. When the message isn’t born of social consciousness, it’s generally born of self-aggrandizement and cocky posturing. Either way, it’s fucking horrible to watch, even worse to listen to, and does it a disservice to actual poetry by calling itself “poetry”.
My message to any aspiring MCs out there is this: if you actually have a talent for rap and for hip-hop music, then I wish you luck in the music business. To the rest of you wannabes, if you have no real talent for rap or for music, or for poetry for that matter, why are you stinking up legitimate poetry readings with your musical failure?