Posted by:Emily Oduor
Written By: Nadia Nguru
In the world of spoken word, it can get pretty challenging to distinguish between amateur and legends in the field. However, there are some exceptions who through time, have stood out from the crowd as some of the greatest spoken word artists to live.
This is a man who defines the meaning of ‘Life is for the Living’ considering that he has made a living off of doing what he loves- expressing himself in profound and unique ways. Wakefield has toured the world, both with poetic groups and solo, performing solo on stages in Zimbabwe, Scotland and Australia. He manages to deliver engaging performances by reciting his pieces with conviction and some humorous touches.
2.Linton Kwesi Johnson
Frequently referred to as LKJ for simplicity’s sake, LKJ boasts numerous achievements throughout his career. For instance, he is the first and only Black Artist to be published under the prestigious Penguin Modern Classics series, and to top that, he is second living artist to make to the series. Born and raised in Jamaica, it is no surprise that LKJ is a wordsmith when it comes to Dub Poetry.
3. Benjamin Zephaniah
A personal favourite, this word-savvy, British Rastafarian made his claim to fame through creating and performing spoken word pieces that hold a mirror up to society and her sometimes superficial nature. Zephaniah’s repertoire includes pieces on money, racism and refugees. His work is truly something worth admiring and sharing that will forever be recognised.
4. Saul Williams
A man of many talents, but professionally known as a spoken word maestro and a rapper, Williams has competed in many slam poetry competitions in America, winning the majority of them. His repertoire as a master of rhyme earned him a Broadway deal where he played the lead role for the play “Holler If Ya Hear Me”
5. Kate Tempest
The youngest on the list, this great artist initially made her debut into the world of spoken word at the tender age of 16. Since then, she has expanded her career to include numerous poetry books such as Hold Your Own and an album entitled Everybody Down. She is one of Britain’s most respected female literary figures.