Award-winning poet and acclaimed writer Dean Atta released his new poetry EP Love or Money about a week ago and has already been mentioned by several media sources, including a review by MTV. With all this attention, it’d be easy to forget that this is a poetry EP and not a chart-selling music compilation.
The five-track EP, although accompanied by a musical backdrop, is a beautifully crafted compilation of eloquently delivered poetry. Produced and mixed by Michael Antoniou, Atta discusses issues such as race, identity, love and money across melodic beats with an engaging rhythm.
Well-known on the poetry scene, Atta earned mainstream acclaim with his powerful, hard-hitting poem “I Am Nobody’s Nigger,” which went viral earlier this year. The poem was in response to the outcome of the Stephen Lawrence murder trial and discussed the negative effect of casually using the black community’s casual use of the racial epithet. If you haven’t seen the video then please check it out below; the power of this poem really is in the combination of the visuals and the words.
The EP’s title track has to be my favourite. Accompanied by the beautiful vocals of Maverick Sabre‘s talented backup singer Chantelle Nandi, “Love Or Money” is a powerful start to the project. Although I’ve distinguished this as a compilation of poetry rather than a typical music collection and am trying to avoid using the word “track” to refer to each individual poem, this one does feel more like poetry. Which is neither here nor there, as it’s simply an amazing piece with Atta and Nandi complimenting each other beautifully.
“Mother Tongue” speaks about lack of identity and the difficulties one can face when he doesn’t his cultural background. Surprisingly, this piece is about Atta’s lack of connection with his maternal family in Cyprus and not receiving the “basic right” to learn the Cypriots’ language. Although not personally affected by this, I know many people will connect with the topic.
I loved “[I Am] Nobody’s Nigger” when it first aired and still do. However, I prefer the original version to the one on the EP. There’s something about the silence and moving imagery in the video that really makes it powerful. Even without the video, the execution of words on the original were more moving and captured the essence; I feel like the musical backdrop somewhat takes away from that.
I didn’t quite connect with “Nothing” on my first sampling, so I sat back and kept it on repeat and really listened. I think this one is a grower for me. Poetry is often very personal. You often have to be going through it and/or have gone through it to really appreciate it.
“Poems” felt like it went back to the values of traditional poetry. The flow, the pace, the structure and the delivery are everything I feel a poem should be. The soulful harmonies and drums throughout are almost nonexistent until Atta’s voice disappears, then you are left in your thoughts while the background fades out. Beautiful end to a moving and thoughtful EP.
With no PR or marketing budget, the project is already making it’s rounds and is Collectively created by combining Atta’s words with Antoniou’s vision, Nandi singing, the musical efforts of Kareem and Yussef Dayes, Renell Shaw and Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Love or Money is a milestone for poetry from the underground circuit a refreshing move towards variety. We look forward to more of the same.
Check out a short clip of the EP launch, where you’ll see live performances and hear a few words from Atta himself.
Courtesy Of SoulCulture