We love poems. Poetry is where great songs come from, and a poem can give you a wife (or husband, lol). We have all heard stories of poems that were recited just before the nigga went on one knee with a ring, “Will you marry me?”, and the answer can never be “No”. Then tears. But poetry has changed. It has been localized and people like King Kaka, Johhny Vigeti, Mufasa and many more are changing the face of poetry. Let’s look at five of the top spoken word artistes.
- King Kaka.
Well, he’s a hip hopper but King kaka’s style largely infuses spoken word. If you listen to his ‘Swahili Shakespeare”, you’ll realize so much wordplay. It’s not just rap, but it has witty punchlines that brings out lots of poetic aspect.
“Si hukutana na Xs kama tuko na Ys tunaenda ma’z-z-z,” he says in one of his lines. Then his song “Promised Land” featuring Amos and Josh goes ahead to show how gifted this lad is as a spoken word artiste.
He’s arguably the best pure English spoken word artiste in Kenya right now. His unique delivery style, the depth of his pieces are what endear him to his fans. Then he has his trademark hat that stands out such that if he’s among many artistes, you’ll easily point him out. His famous pieces are ‘Before my Daughter is born’, ‘Freedom is under Control’ and ‘mama Africa’.
Forget about King Kaka, this guy’s lyrical prowess is up there with the clouds. He does his pieces in English and Swahili, basically sheng. His witty punchlines have made him a darling to the sheng-speaking generation. His passion for addressing sociopolitical ills is so deep and the fact that he does it in sheng makes him so closer and normal to his audience (which largely comprises of the youth).
4. Kenneth B.
He is regarded as the father of spoken word in Kenya. This guys has reared many spoken word artistes and has organized very many events for spoken word artistes and their listeners. He is the force behind PAL (Poetry After Lunch) that happens in the Kenya National Theatre every Thursday as well as Slam Africa. He has opened ways for other artistes, making spoken word be recognised and having shows on radio with new spoken word artistes.
5. Kuni Mbichi.
he begins his poems with ‘Sijakam showbiz na issues nimekam show, bizz na issues….‘. It’s become his trademark sign in and whenever he gets on stage, it’s what fans begin singing. He works closely with Kenneth B though their style do not resemble. He performs in PAL and has a way with words.
Well, we more than just being poets spoken word artistes are revolutionaries. They speak to the masses. They talk about the ills, they entertain and more exclusively they engage the audience in a local way. Take an instance whereby local spoken word artistes came together and did a song about corruption, poems don’t go that far, right?