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Spoken Word Soul
Stylistic origins Beat Generation, Neo-soul, Bebop Jazz, Electronica, Country soul, Poetry, Jazz-funk
Cultural origins Mid 1950's, Early 2000s, NYC, PHI, US
Typical instruments Guitars, Percussion, Upright Bass, Synthesizers - Keyboard - Drum machines

Spoken Word Soul is an eclectic blend of Poetry, Jazz-funk, Electronica & acoustic Country soul music elements. The style is largely considered to be an underground offshoot of the Neo Soul movement from the 1990s & became very popular around the turn of the century (2000 A.D.), to the present. From origins in 50's & 60's Beatnik culture & Bop Jazz associations, Spoken Word Soul music has become very popular today as indie artists (Musicians, Singer-songwriters, Poets) & the public, dissatisfied & frustrated with current major record label releases & business practices, utilized the power of the internet to network globally with other Artists & fans; as a result, the Genre has become an international "Underground culture" of sorts via the increased use of various music & blog sites such as Myspace, You Tube, London's,, CDBaby & Apple's iTunes, etc. Artists such as Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, The Watts Prophets, and contemporary artists like Meshell Ndegeocello, Jill Scott, Floetry, & Ursula Rucker are considered the "Progenitors" of this style of Soul, while Indie (Unsigned) acts such as Detroit bred-Atlanta, Ga based artist Abyss, Baltimore's brilliant Taalam Acey, Cincinnati bred acts Lady Khadyja, "Hidden", the Jazz Funk poetic soul band Shades of J along with the collective "Village of 144,000", North Carolina based artists & radio personalities Monica Daye ( Durham ) & Fayetteville's Val "Imani" Jones, famed L.A.-based Actor/Poet-Bassist Malcolm Jamal Warner, Indy's Tasha Jones, and others are constantly releasing powerful, thought provoking blends of original Spoken Word music with insightful, creative expression, all while expanding the Genre worldwide. "It's still evolving", says Shades of J Guitarist/ Producer Don "Dee M" Manor ......... "Spoken Word Soul has been around in various guises & will Always be relevant."


  • Algarin & Holman, ALOUD: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets' Cafe


  • Beat Culture and the New America 1950-1965 published by the Whitney Museum of American Art in accordance with an exhibition in 1995/1996—ISBN 0-87427-098-7 softcover, ISBN 2-08-013613-5

hardcover (Flammarion)

  • Sanders, Ed Tales of Beatnik Glory (second edition, 1990) ISBN 0-8065-1172-9
  • The Word Is Here: Poetry from Modern Africa. New York: Anchor, 1973.
  • When the Clouds Clear. Johannesburg: Congress of South African Writers, 1990.
  • Approaches to Poetry Writing. Chicago: Third World, 1994.
  • To the Bitter End. Chicago: Third World, 1995.
  • If I Could Sing: Selected Poems. Roggebaai, South Africa: Kwela and Plumstead, South Africa: Snailpress, 2002.
  • Eargasms:Crucialpoetics." Mike Ladd, Saul Williams, Shariff Simmons, Brad Walrond, Carl Hancock Rux, Vybe Khameleons, Tai (Grfx) Allen, Rha Ghodess, Jessica Care Moore, Native Sun et al.
  • Easy Listening For Armageddon Mike Ladd with guests muMs, Shariff Simmons, Jessica Care Moore, Latasha Natasha Diggs, grfx, beans, high priest(Mercury 1997)
  • Jazz Poet's Society." JPS f/danja mouf, grfx, unspoken heard (Fifth Child 2000)

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