They are not rappers yet they make use of rhymes, rhythms and punchlines that’d make the best of
rappers green with envy. They are Spoken Word Artistes. This form of art is a relatively new and yet unsung form of art which makes use of words delivered in a rhythmic style (with/without music) to pass across messages, paint images in the mind.
Spoken Word is one of the oldest forms of art which started even before men learnt to write and it is a part of the culture in many parts of Nigeria with local griots who retold stories, delivered chants and used a rhythmic form of storytelling in educating their people about history.
It might be hard to know the where, how and why, that made that form of art become near extinct in Nigeria but it is gradually re- emerging as a form of art and entertainment and I hope it becomes a money spinner soon just like the music and movies industries.
The modern spoken word movement in Nigeria started about ten years ago with the coming to the limelight of a certain Sage Hasson who is regarded as Nigeria’s premier spoken word poet and referred to in many circles as the King of Spoken word in Nigeria. His mastery of language, depth of thoughts and oratory prowess evident in his delivery of his message amidst heavy use of rhymes and punchlines made the entertainment world take notice of him, hence creating an awareness of the art of spoken word in Nigeria.
Although Spoken Word has not attained that level where it becomes a crowd puller at events, awareness for the art is growing and more spoken word artistes, both male and female emerge by the day. While females like Atilola Moronfolu, Doyin Ogunnaike (DonnaK), Osasu Paul Azino and Obi E and Dolapo Ogunwale stand out are stamping their feet as proud amazons of the art, Efe Paul Azino, Jeffrey Jaiyeola (Plumbline), Olumide Holloway (Olulu), Tope Sadiq (Torpedo Mascaw) and Bob Ekat hold sway amongst the males and I think it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Spoken Word has come to stay as a form of art in Nigeria.
For more information on spoken word- tweet at any of these handles @gbengaosowe & @olulu4eva