If you spent any time on the poetry scene in Jacksonville in the early 2000's, chances are you heard someone perform a piece by the name of Amplifier. Most likely you heard several people, on many occasions, perform some version of the piece - oftentimes in groups. No matter how varied, the one commonality between each performance was the echoed hook:
"MY HEART'S MY AMPLIFIER - I DON'T NEED NO MIC"
What you probably didn't know was who the creator of the original piece was (or you thought you did, but you were wrong - it wasn't that guy/girl). The piece sparked a wildfire - it was extremely relatable amongst poets and poetry enthusiasts alike, tinged with raw emotion, and encouraged crowd participation. Before we knew it, new verses and monologues were being added and versions started popping up (both verified and unverified) throughout the spoken word diaspora. It was also hard to ignore since the piece is performed without a microphone and begins with a poet taking the stage and projecting, theatre style, with a force meant to make you shut up and listen.
Perhaps it's fitting, then, that the originator of Amplifier is none other than Jacksonville born and bred spoken word and hip-hop artist, KnightKrawler. Seemingly modest, he transforms himself on stage through his words and expression. It's this quiet talent, consistency, and passion that has earned him the designation of international artist, published author, and motivational speaker.
Amplifier has now a dozen years to its name and the momentum has yet to cease. KnightKrawler is steadily broadening his platform and using it to give back by helping the next generation of poets to build their confidence and understand how to navigate the spoken word landscape. Today we sit down with Krawler to learn more about where he's been and where he's going to take his Amplifier next.
Tomorrow, on Saturday, March 9th, The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens will be hosting a Garden Concert featuring HEAR in NOW - a collaborative trio performing mostly original, jazz-laden, avant-classical compositions. The group consists of Mazz Swift on violin and vocals, Silvia Bolognesi on double bass and Tomeka Reid on cello. These three women, each wildly accomplished in their own right, come together to create and perform rule-breaking and genre-bending musical art. This is a show you won't want to miss! (find details about the event at the end of the article)
In anticipation of the concert, we chatted with Mazz Swift (also known as MazzMuse or MizMazz) and learned about her personal musical journey, what motivates her as an improvisational artist, the origins and development of HEAR in NOW, and why it's important to her to take on the responsibility of "shifting the focus" in classical music as a person of African descent.
Wisdom is nothing but a preparation of the soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life.
- Hermann Hesse -
They say still waters run deep - that often a quiet or placid facade hides an unforeseen passionate or subtle nature. Such can be said of Antwan Dickens, better known as T.W.A.N.
A Jacksonville native, T.W.A.N. has been an active part of the Duval Underground Hip Hop scene for years. From freestyling to producing, he's been unpretentiously honing his craft while always remaining humble and gracious. In a realm where bravado tends to dominate, he has consistently produced quality content while sharpening his skills, allowing his work to speak for itself.
The message has been clear - he's a beast and he doesn't have to brag on it. He released his debut, self titled album in the fall of 2016 to rave reviews and has recently followed up with his sophomore project - The Wise Soul - a much more polished, sophisticated, and self aware body of work. His evolution from YOUNG TWAN The Problem Child to The Wise Soul is more than evident in his lyrics and production. Heavily laden with Duval swag, the album features cameos and collaborations from a handful of equally talented Duval powerhouses like Ché, Ebony Payne-English, Higher Learning and boasts production credits to Tough Junkie as well as Executive Production credits to himself.
Getting to know The Wise And Nice One might take some time, but his music is the perfect place to start. His is one of the many voices of Duval and he has quite a bit to say.
Questions? Comments? Submit something for consideration?
Please email Jihan@CulturalCouncil.org