Kate Tempest is one of the most fascinating, if not the most talented, poetesses of our times (“UK’s greatest working lyricist”, as Matt Willkinson put it simply for NME).
with her first solo album Everybody Down released in 2014 on Big Dada, the young lady who started to write when she was 16 sent a strong signal, a discrete but unequivocal sign that a new generation of british poets was born. her incisive and very convincing poetical rap tells stories about people, about society, about our times, well themes that any thinking, compassionate human beings should consider as essential.
i remember the first time i listened to Marshall Law, the opener of Everybody Down, i felt stuck on the refrain that has been accompanying me since then.
It’s true if you believe it.
The world is the world
But it’s all how you see it.
One man’s flash of lightning ripping through the air Is another’s passing glare, hardly there.
Kate Tempest delivers messages that are truly meaningful, pregnant, and contrast with her kind-hearted smiling face. you should see her on her stage, moving shyly but with a very touching grace, rapping her stories with spiritedness and generosity. and when she takes up her gifted pen to open her heart to europe, she knows every word she’s writing about. we just wish her very call for this lost europe were a standard beaver for the presently future. a positive one.
Europe is lost, America lost, London is lost,
Still we are clamouring victory.
All that is meaningless rules,
And we have learned nothing from history.
People are dead in their lifetimes,
Dazed in the shine of the streets.
But look how the traffic keeps moving.
The system’s too slick to stop working.
Business is good. And there’s bands every night in the pubs,
And there’s two for one drinks in the clubs.
We scrubbed up well
We washed off the work and the stress
Now all we want’s some excess
Better yet; A night to remember that we’ll soon forget.
All of the blood that was shed for these cities to grow,
All of the bodies that fell.
The roots that were dug from the ground
So these games could be played
I see it tonight in the stains on my hands.
The buildings are screaming
I cant ask for help though, nobody knows me,
Hostile and worried and lonely.
We move in our packs and these are the rights we were born to
Working and working so we can be all that want
Then dancing the drudgery off
But even the drugs have got boring.
Well, sex is still good when you get it.
To sleep, to dream, to keep the dream in reach
To each a dream,
Don’t weep, don’t scream,
Just keep it in,
Keep sleeping in
What am I gonna do to wake up?
I feel the cost of it pushing my body
Like I push my hands into pockets
And softly I walk and I see it, it’s all we deserve
The wrongs of our past have resurfaced
Despite all we did to vanquish the traces
My very language is tainted
With all that we stole to replace it with this,
I am quiet,
Feeling the onset of riot.
But riots are tiny though,
Systems are huge,
The traffic keeps moving, proving there’s nothing to do.
It’s big business baby and its smile is hideous.
Top down violence, structural viciousness.
Your kids are doped up on medical sedatives.
But don’t worry bout that. Worry bout terrorists.
The water levels rising! The water levels rising!
The animals, the polar bears, the elephants are dying!
Stop crying. Start buying.
But what about the oil spill?
Shh. No one likes a party pooping spoil sport.
Massacres massacres massacres/new shoes
Ghettoised children murdered in broad daylight by those employed to protect them.
Live porn streamed to your pre-teens bedrooms.
Glass ceiling, no headroom. Half a generation live beneath the breadline.
Oh but it’s happy hour on the high street,
Friday night at last lads, my treat!
All went fine till that kid got glassed in the last bar,
Place went nuts, you can ask our Lou,
It was madness, the road ran red, pure claret.
And about them immigrants? I cant stand them.
Mostly, I mind my own business.
But they’re only coming over here to get rich.
It’s a sickness.
And you wonder why kids want to die for religion?
Work all your life for a pittance,
Maybe you’ll make it to manager,
Pray for a raise
Cross the beige days off on your beach babe calendar.
Anarchists desperate for something to smash
Scandalous pictures of glamorous rappers in fashionable magazines
Who’s dating who?
Politico cash in an envelope
Caught sniffing lines off a prostitutes prosthetic tits,
And it’s back to the house of lords with slapped wrists
They abduct kids and fuck the heads of dead pigs
But him in a hoodie with a couple of spliffs –
Jail him, he’s the criminal
It’s the BoredOfItAll generation
The product of product placement and manipulation,
Shoot em up, brutal, duty of care,
Come on, new shoes.
Bullshit saccharine ballads
And here’s me outside the palace of ME!
Construct a self and psychosis
And meanwhile the people are dead in their droves
But nobody noticed,
Well actually, some of them noticed,
You could tell by the emoji they posted.
Sleep like a gloved hand covers our eyes
The lights are so nice and bright and lets dream
But some of us are stuck like stones in a slipstream
What am I gonna do wake up?
We are lost
We are lost
We are lost
And still nothing
We have ambitions and friends and our courtships to think of
Divorces to drink off the thought of
The planet is shaking and spoiled
Life is a plaything
A garment to soil
The toil the toil.
I cant see an ending at all.
Only the end.
How is this something to cherish?
When the tribesmen are dead in their deserts
To make room for alien structures,
Kill what you find if it threatens you.
No trace of love in the hunt for the bigger buck,
Here in the land where nobody gives a fuck.