Revisiting Classic #7 : Def Poetry

Def Poetry was a classic television program based on Spoken Word and was hosted by the legend Mos Def. Airing between 2002 and 2007, it was a great platform for spoken word artists to come out and just let go and express what they had in mind. Performers also included musicians such as Jamie Fox and Erykah Badu. In this article, we will be looking at three performances by rappers on this show.

Revisiting Classic #7 : Def Poetry

1) DMX – The Industry

DMX has had his shares of ups and downs. The industry was ruthless to the artist and in this piece, he expressed his experience in the industry. Talking about the negative effects of the industry, this connected to a lot of people.

“The industry doesn’t give a fuck about you 
but they can’t make a dime without you” 
“Fuck the beat listen to the words in the damn song”

DMX then goes to express his relationship with the industry and how he hasn’t given up even after the industry tries to push him down. This is spoken-word at its best.


2) Talib Kweli – Lonely People

Talib Kewli is a creative genius, one of the greatest poets on the microphone. Talib Kweli did this piece on isolation and how lonely people deal with their daily struggle. Giving his take on how famous people deal with loneliness. Every word just connects to you

“Might want to check a thermometer
When you go to a movie heat rises
Surrounded by people still lonely, that’s why you need disguises

This is piece was later on the turned into a song with the same title and oh so great it was poetry in motion.

Watch the piece right here –


3) Kanye West – Bitter Sweet

Before Kanye West became the legend he is right now he gave this power packed performance on Def Poetry. Displaying a series of emotions starting from comedy ending up with aggression, this is a perfect piece and an ode to the old Kanye.

Revisiting Classic #7 : Def Poetry

“Make black history every day I don’t need a month
And she claims she only with me for the currency
You cut me deep bitch, cut me like surgery
And I was too proud to admit that it was hurting me
I’d never do that to you, at least purposely
We breaking up again, we making up again
But we don’t love no more, I guess we fucking then
Have you ever felt you ever want to kill her?
And you mix them emotions with tequila
And you mix that with a little bad advice”

This piece was also later on converted into a track which featured on Kanye’s album graduation.

Watch the poet at work here –


There are a lot of great performances which you need to look at here. This included artists like Common, Krs One, and Dead Prez. This was one show which connected to the public on intellect basis. Do let me know which one was your favourites and if you haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend you to watch it.