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MP3 Quiet Rage - You Can't Break Me

Two powerhouse Spoken Word artists from Philly who take on issues from the media to Hip Hop, politics to racism.

20 MP3 Songs
HIP HOP/RAP: Alternative Hip Hop, SPOKEN WORD: With Music

Philadelphia Weekly wrote:

All the Rage

Philly''s hottest spoken-word duo aren''t afraid to attack.

by Raymond Tyler

It''s 9 o''clock Tuesday night outside the Five Spot. I see Bunmi "Boom" Samuel who organizes Soul Power, the new and innovative talent showcase at the Five Spot.
Boom welcomes me, and walks me up to the stage entrance to where the action is. Inside people are scurrying back and forth, preparing for the show tonight and the 150 or more people who will soon pack the house.

Seated at a small, dimly lit booth is one of the newer groups that''s fueling the scene''s current sense of newness and excitement-the duo Quiet Rage.

Damali, the group''s music producer and poet, sits on the inside of the booth. During our interview he''s mostly quiet and reflective, but onstage he''s loud and in-your-face-unafraid of words like "motherfucker" or "nigger."

Vision, Damali''s partner in rhyme, is 6-foot-7, and intense. He laughs now and then but focuses on what he feels people need to hear. He''s not much concerned with what people want to hear.

"I started off playing ball," Vision says. "But I was never no hoop dreamer. I''ve been writing poetry as long as I can remember. Basketball was just to keep me off the streets."

Damali has been involved in music all his life, but he''d been performing poetry for about two years when he and Vision formed Quiet Rage in December 2004.

"We had a friendly little rivalry going," Damali says. "I''m from South Philly, Viz is from North. Plus we would be at the same venues, and if I didn''t totally win the crowd, then he did."

Vision adds, "We would wonder who was going to be the better poet that night. One day we just said, ''Let''s come together and see what happens.''"

What happened was that Quiet Rage became one of Philly''s most well-known high-energy acts. Appearing roughly five times a week around town, they''ve become crowd favorites at several venues, including October Art Gallery. There they perform poems like "Real Soldiers," in which the two shout, sing and rap about how the images and words in the Destiny''s Child song "Soldier" set black people and women back.

"We actually liked Destiny''s Child," Vision says.

"We praised them for the message in songs like ''Survivor'' and ''Independent Women,''" Damali adds. "But the video for ''Soldier'' is like a minstrel show. You have women running around with rags on their heads like Aunt Jemima. If somebody white had made that video, we''d be picketing."

As for the lyrics, Vision says, "They tell girls you need a man who knows how to be a drug dealer. That''s crazy."

The spoken-word community clearly embraces Quiet Rage''s point of view. Their debut CD You Can''t Break Me features some prestigious older voices, including Bernard Collins, Common, Sonia Sanchez and the Last Poets.

A key part of QR''s vision is to break new ground discussing what the two feel are underplayed issues, like the genocide in the Sudan, which they address in their poem "I." When I ask them why they felt it was important to talk about the situation there, Vision answers bluntly, "Because nobody else is. This is happening in our world, in our time, and nobody''s talking about it."

"We used poetic/dramatic license to tell this story from
the point of view of white Americans in hope that people would pay attention," says Damali. "As soon as they realize you''re talking about black people or Africa, the tendency is to tune it out."

Now Damali and Vision are organizing a spoken-word tour. "Our goal," Damali says, "is to redefine hip-hop and spoken word in the same way Nirvana redefined metal music."

"We believe," says Vision. "We''re proof. The poetry scene is ready for and will accept a group that is serious, that attacks issues you don''t hear on the radio or see on MTV."

On this night they do a poem that brings heat to Southern rapper Mike Jones. The crowd hollers back at them and laughs with them. After the performance many in the crowd buy their CD. It''s a great night to enjoy the tradition of spoken word-with artists committed to rewriting that tradition.

Additional articles by Raymond Tyler:

Spin Cycle (Aug 10 ''05)
Scratch That (Aug 03 ''05)
Fade to Black (Jul 20 ''05)

The website https://www.tradebit.com wrote:

Think of them as the eye of the storm. While chaos and destruction swirl all around, in this moment things are peaceful, even beautiful. But it’s only a matter of time before the rains return…pushing and pulling at our very foundation, clearing a path for newness and displaying the awesome force of nature. Such is the lyrical power displayed by the poetic duo known as QUIET RAGE.

These individual stars of the Philadelphia spoken word scene decided to join forces in 2004 to explore the possibilities of their combined talents. While they are most noted for their fiery lyrical delivery, QUIET RAGE is also known to break out their guitars and strum while reciting for a decidedly more low-key and melodic presentation. Still relative newcomers to the industry, their talents have already propelled them into the national spotlight as opening acts for such respected performers as Taalam Acey, Saul Williams and The Last Poets.

In 2006, expect to hear even more of QUIET RAGE…on new recording projects, as producers and as on-air talent with their forthcoming radio show. And you can bet that they’ll continue to blow audiences away with their dynamic live performances!

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