So I will be honest I am generally not a fan of poet mc’s. Most of them are rappers that are getting no love so they come to poetry open mics and try to slow their verse down and spit it acapella. Granted there are some really dope poets that are also really dope rappers, in general when someone intros themselves to me as a Poet MC my forehead just sighs and I get prepared for an awkward not quite gangsta not quite conscious stripped down version of a song that was whack to begin with.
Not Mpanga, dude is the real deal. I watched some of his poems and some of his more MC videos and he blends them brilliantly. His style is unique, full of the swag of an MC but the soul of a poet. A lot of people argue that they can be one in the same, well he is the embodiment of that theory.
An accomplished poet, Mpanga was born to Ugandan parents on the St Raphael’s Estate in Harlesden, north-west London and began performing rap and grime when he was 15 years old. He attended Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet and studied politics, psychology and sociology at King’s College, Cambridge, where he decided to adapt his rap output into poetry to communicate more effectively with his audience. Mpanga said, “I think rappers are primarily expected to make money for the industry and provide party soundtracks, but obviously there are exceptions and grey areas. The poet’s ‘role’ is usually to provide thoughtful social commentary”.
During his studies, Mpanga won a social enterprise competition organised by Barclays and Channel 4 called The Stake, which asked entrants how they would spend £100,000. He used his £16,000 prize to fund The Jubilee Line, a series of secondary school poetry workshops for underprivileged children in London. In May 2012, he premiered the piece “My City”, about his hometown London. Subsequently, BBC Radio 1 selected him as the face of their Hackney Weekend (in June 2012), and Sky Sports F1 commissioned him to write poems for their coverage of the 2012 Formula One season and the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix. He signed to the record label Island Records in August 2013.
In July 2014, the consumer watchdog group Which? released the track “It’s Yours”, a collaboration between Mpanga and producer Jakwob, as part of a campaign lobbying the UK Government to improve their response to complaints about public services. “My City” was adapted as a music collaboration with dance producers Bodhi, and released as a single in August 2014. In October 2014, Mpanga released the EP The Chicken and the Egg and the single “1,2,1,2” (once again with Bodhi), describing the former release as “about premature parenthood. Through the story of a rocky relationship, it outlines the cycle of fatherlessness in seven tracks.” Vice magazine wrote that the EP “showcases perhaps the tightest lyricism of the year to date”.
In November 2014, it was announced that Mpanga had been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice category at the 2015 BRIT Awards.
Check out the below video where he absolutely kills it, to make things even doper he is in the Abbey Roads Studio (If you don’t know why that is dope get to goggling) To make things crazier on to be of that his was nominated for a Critics Choice award for the 2015 BRIT awards. You will be seeing a lot more of him on Eternal Graffiti, I can guarantee that!
Watch the Video?