Kate Tempest – “The Beigeness”

The link between poetry and hip hop is closer than many may realize. Prolific emcees like Nas have demonstrated this time and time again, and books and essays on poetry and hip hop are a plenty. It’s not surprising that some hip hop artists are actual poets; Canada’s Cadence Weapon is one such example, as is the UK’s Kate Tempest.

Starting at open mic nights and poetry slams, Tempest sites influences from Virginia Woolf to James Joyce to Wu-Tang Clan; with a list like that, you know the end result can’t be anything less than profound. Tempest is already a published poet and playwright, so why not cut an album?Not bad for someone just turning 30.

You might be tempted to draw comparisons to The Streets after hearing “The Beigeness”, and on first listen, I would agree. But it’s not until the second or third spin that you realize that there’s more here – Tempest has carved out a sound that is all her own.

-Michelle Farres


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