Hip-hop and poetry have gone hand in hand since hip-hop’s conception. So much of what hip-hop is at its core is rooted in poetry and spoken word. It’s common place to see a poet open up a hip-hop show, or even hear a poet featured on a track. Even with its huge influence, poetry has faded to the background as hip-hop has expanded. In CHH there is no difference. Poets will make cameos on tracks or open shows, but they are rarely the star.
Over the past few years there has been a substantial change. With the rise of (Passion for Christ Movement) P4CM, Propaganda, Jackie Hill-Perry and several rappers using poets for their music, poetry is becoming more and more popular. Poetry has now become something that CHH fans are checking for without the accompaniment of hip-hop music. This steady rise in popularity has lead to something that most people may have never thought possible; a tour.
The Poets in Autumn tour is the first ever faith based poetry tour of its kind. It is headlined by P4CM alums Preston Perry, Janette…ikz, Ezekiel and Jackie Hill-Perry. Even with artists as popular as these, this tour is not without its challenges. No one knows if people would want to attend a 2-3 hour poetry show. What does a 2-3 hour poetry show even look like? Most people know poetry shows as open mic nights in small coffee shops; will this stage be too big? In spite of all of these challenges, the Poets in Autumn Tour is one of the best shows of the year.
The Poets in Autumn Tour is unlike any other show. Aside from it being strictly a poetry show, the whole vibe and feel of the show is completely different. As soon as you walk in, a relaxing and calm environment greets you. The audience is a bit different than your run of the mill hip-hop show, they’re more mature. Once the show begins and the lights go dim, an excitement hits you. The show opens up with praise and worship, which helps the audience get ready for the event and brings a much needed intimacy to the show.
After praise and worship, the special guest on the Florida leg of the tour, Jessica Reedy, took the stage. Jessica was another perfect addition to the tour. Her soulful voice and intimate set gave the show a coffee shop feel. Her set was great. She was very comfortable on stage and seemed to ease the crowd. She crafted her set around personal stories and shared honest moments with the audience. She worked the crowd very well and tore down the wall between the artist and listener. Her set was the perfect bridge to the poetry element because it set the mood in the room perfectly.
After Jessica Reedy, the poets hit the stage. But not in a traditional hip-hop show format. The show is a bit more casual. A poet would take to the stage and deliver their piece, and they rotated for the entire show. They performed mainly their classic pieces, but they also mixed in some new pieces. In between their pieces, each poet shared a part of their testimony, which then lead into a correlating heartfelt piece. This aspect of the show helped to provide more intimacy to the show and truly created a memorable experience.
Another thing that added to creating a memorable experience where the actual poets. Each artist on this tour are incredible. Ezekiel, Preston Perry, Janette…ikz, and Jackie Hill-Perry have been a huge part in why poetry has grown in CHH. Each have garnered their own following with classic pieces over the past few years. At the Poets in Autumn Tour you get to see these artists in a whole new way. No matter how many times you watch a piece online, there is nothing like seeing it live. The vibe of the room and the passion from the each artist creates an experience unlike any other.
Another great aspect these artists brought to the show was chemistry. Each artist is different and all have a different ways of performing, but the chemistry between them created a unified experience. There were times when they worked together on a piece (Preston and Jackie), which was phenomenal. Moving between artists and pieces can be tough for an audience member to track, but the show had a fluent flow, and felt like one complete show.
Even though the chemistry was great, each artist was able to stand out on their own and shine. Each poet did about 3 or 4 pieces. Some of the pieces were uncomfortable to listen to because of how transparent they were. Some were emotional, some were encouraging, but they were all powerful. Every performance was awe-inspiring.
Jackie’s power was in her wordplay. She manipulated words in a way that just rolled off her tongue. Watching her perform her pieces was fantastic. She had control over the room with each bar and it was incredible to watch. Along those same lines, Preston delivered his pieces with a special type of restraint that gets his message across beautifully. Instead of hearing his passion, you feel it.
Ezekiel’s presentation is much different than anyone else on the tour, mainly because he has a way of conveying any type of emotion. He owns the room with sheer passion and conviction. It is impossible to take your eyes off of Ezekiel when he’s on stage. He is a great wordsmith and even better performer. Last but not least is Janette…ikz. She had a comfortable and passionate delivery. She was confidently working the crowd and making jokes in between giving her heart-wrenching pieces. Janette…ikz’s wordplay and delivery are flawless. Overall, she is a fantastic performer.
The Poets in Autumn Tour is a great show. It gives the audience an intimate, passionate, beautiful and encouraging experience. It pulls in different types of art to encounter God in a truly unique way. Whether you’re a serious poetry fan, a casual fan or new to poetry, this tour is a must see.
To find out if the tour will be in a city near you, visit thepiatour.com.