Illustration by Ellen Charlesworth
The 24 year old Londoner George Mpanga, better known as George the Poet, is a socially motivated poet, spoken word and recording artist. After attending a state grammar school in Barnet, George went on to study sociology, psychology and politics at Cambridge university. Mpanga adapts his rhyming in his raps, into poetry. Being signed to Island Records in 2013, he has released an EP, and numerous singles through 2014. Additionally, he had his first book of poetry published 'Search Party' in February 2015. Recognising that getting a break into the music industry is rare, he uses his platform to speak up about issues affecting everyday people and his lyrics are usually politically charged.
Here's some of his tracks reviewed:
1) My City
"Before we hated people, we were all created equal. Learnt to despise the strife, and forgot that variety's the spice of life"
"TFL knows the world is your oyster, as long as you can afford it"
"Children navigating through postcode wars, in estates with the least funding, look at the state of East London"
"A tax system where the more rich get more rich"
A commentary on social issues in London at the minute, but it also celebrates the awesome diversity in the capital. George's intelligent lyrics serve as a narrative for the city, stressing that London belongs to everyone, not just the richest 1%. If you get a chance, check out the music video which features excellent footage of vast housing estates and the vibrant Notting Hill Carnival. Even the police are seen "getting down to the groove of the song."
2) 1, 2, 1, 2
"There's 7 billion people in the world, but there's only one you"
"If I can do it you can too"
"In life, challenges come, what makes you think you can't handle this one?"
Probably the most positive song known to man. Listen to this if you're glaring at your blank Panofsky essay word document or you're feeling demotivated and need to finish those footnotes. The catchy dance backing track this song is just enough to make you feel you can take over the world. I know I've been caught on public transport nodding my head along to the beat.
3) Search Party
"I was once a boy who would jump for joy, at something as trivial as a bunch of toys. But in adult life, that becomes a ploy to help you side-step the things you might want to avoid"
"I don't believe being unemployed makes you null and void"
"As long as you wanna be courageous, I promise you we are gonna see some changes"
George maps out the "manifesto of his Search Party" in this song, also in his live performances he emphasises the need for a politics of hope. Changing lives locally and building a grassroots movement is at the basis of the message of this encouraging political song.
Find more of George at: http://www.iamgeorgethepoet.co.uk/