Spam Poetry by BenePeko & Roland Kanik
You know what is said, rappers are the poets of today. And there's no doubt about it when listening to Spam Poetry, the latest album by Bene.
On Sunday, March 3rd, I was watching Radio_Head Awards (RHA) on TV. RHA is an annual award bestowed by Radio_FM, this year for the fourth time. And the prize in Hip-hop/Rap/RnB Category was given to rapper Bene and his producer Peko for their latest piece of work, Spam Poetry. I was taken aback for a while because I didn't know they had brought out a new album that I hadn't listened to (shame on me!). Now, after playing it over and over again, I realized Bene articulates what a lot of us have on our minds.
To me, Bene is like a cubist painter: he takes everything he observes around him – all the absurd, ordinary, stereotypical, disappointing... and remoulds it into a song. Sometimes those pieces match and sometimes, through what is standing out, you can see the bitter reality.
Facts first: The album was released in July 2011. Its lyrics were all written by Bene, and his friends – producer Peko and Roland Kanik (also a member of Mango Molas) – are responsible for the music.
Musically, get your eardrums ready for a dose of traditionally relaxing and old-school beats. And a trombone. The lyrics are a bit harder to describe. It still surprises me how real-life Bene's lyrics are. From an intellectual to a manual worker, they speak to everybody. And in my mind they are somehow connected to sitting at a bar reflecting on your (sad?) life. A new listener quickly gets used to Bene's typical wordplays, and it all sounds so natural as if speaking in rhymes was what you usually do.
The song “Alobal” is an ode to being an outcast. “Pribehy obycajneho Slovenska” perfectly combines poetry, film and music, as Bene shouts out “Cut!“ after every finished stanza – image. And the Bratislava jazzman Roland Kanik playing the dramatic, yet sweet piano? Call it what you want – icing on the cake or an ironical view on the bright and dark side of life. And Bene still manages to make fun of himself and his lisping. For many a handicap, it actually makes him special. The record is about coming of age, thinking about one’s future and family and at the same time realizing how silly it sounds: “Holden Caulfield would spit in my face.”
Do not get the wrong impression. Spam Poetry is not only about crushed dreams because as Bene implies in the song “Hudba pre život”, if you have your life, what better use can you make of it than actually LIVING it? And while living your life, don't forget to give a chance to this 34-minute long album. It’s worth it.
(One more thing: There’s also a volume of poetry by the multitasking rapper Bene – it is called Slovenčina pre samoukov/Spam poetry. As the title implies, it comprises the lyrics from the Spam Poetry album as well as other poems. I hope I am not overstating when I say that it is a true pleasure for your eyes and ears – fans of contemporary art, look forward to illustrations by Erk Šille!)
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