Jamaica Gleaner / Jamaican poet-author Everard ‘Esquire’ Smith recently released his book of poems titled Birth . The poet, who has been on a robust promotional
campaign in the corporate area, recently revealed to The Sunday Gleaner that his poetry is influenced by his love of music.
However, despite Jamaica’s status as a cultural superpower for its music, Esquire notes that the majority of his inspiration comes from foreign music. The poet gave credit to local writers like Mark Myrie and Adidja Azim Palmer, among others, for their against the grain writing, but lamented that the new generation of artistes is lacking in content.
He also pointed out that hip hop artistes like Lil Wayne have managed to take lyrical content to new heights, so much so that the lyrics in the music rival poetry.
He, therefore, advises Jamaican talents to step up their game and improve their vocabulary.
“In music, you have to think about a Buju when he just started. Buju’s music could be classified as poetry, and he also went on Def Poetry Jam with one of his songs as a poem. The drawback with our artistes now is that they don’t read. If you listen to people like Kendrick Lamar, you can tell that these guys are reading. People who read, on a whole have a broader way of putting things. If you speak to these rappers, they will tell you that they have been reading the 48 Laws of Power and they read philosophies, and stuff like that. Kendrick’s music is philosophy … it’s poetry. That is why he does not have to rely on a specific rhyming scheme,” he said.
A GOOD READ Smith also believes that if artistes pay attention to the work of the Marleys, namely, Junior Gong, they could gradually improve their own writing skills. He says that persons have even advised him to transform some of his poetry into actual songs, an option that he weighs, but is yet to explore.
“Probably that is an avenue that I will venture into. But my favourite rap artiste is Lil Wayne, and the reason is because of his word play. He always knows how to twist words and keep you on the edge. The influence of knowledge can take an artiste a far way. If you are doing a presentation on a particular subject matter, say war, and you read elsewhere that war kill 50 people, you can draw for that as reference,” he said.
As for the storytelling aspect of music, the poet believes that Ernie Smith has mastered the craft. He also holds the view that telling stories through music and poetry is a better way of captivating an audience instead of rambling with random rhymes over a beat.
“Sometimes you hear an artiste singing about a car and then you hear gun drop in the mix. How is that even there? How do they connect? That is just disjointed. I love to listen music from the 1940s to ’60s because those artistes were like poets,” he said.
It might seem ironic that a poet draws influence from music without writing music himself. However, the Birth author explained that poetry is no longer a commercial genre globally. Therefore, poets are no longer at the forefront of entertainment. With that being said, the new generation has had to rely on the work of old icons or deceased poets for inspiration.
Birth can be purchased by contacting Urban Books and Publishing.
“It’s a good read. it offers lessons that persons might be afraid to broker with their children, and it’s a bloody good book,” Smith declared.