08 February 2008

The Artist Formerly Known As Cool Wip

Back in the day I had a rap group with a few friends of mine from junior high. They were both Puerto Rican, and I was the token white guy. We all loved A Tribe Called Quest and that was our inspiration basically. I rapped but I was also in charge of the beats and had them rapping over extended mixes of "Close To You" from The Cure's "All Mixed Up" record. It was hysterical. I wish I could upload an Mp3 for you to hear. If I ever find the tape, I promise I will. I used to make the beats on my dual-cassette deck thing just dubbing a loop over and over again. It was underground D.I.Y. rap before Def Jux and all that shit.

Anyway, my rap name was Cool Wip. I spelled it without the H because I was official like that. We were known as The Poetasters. One of the dudes picked the name because he thought it meant like rhymester or versifier. Turned out it was actually a contemptuous name often applied to bad or "petty" poets with pretensions to artistic value. The guy who came up with the term (Benjamin Jonson, the English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor who was boys with William Shakespeare) meant it as someone who vomits up a pretentious and bombastic vocabulary. Haha!

While poetaster has always been a negative appraisal of a poet's skills, rhymester and versifier have held ambiguous meanings depending on the critic's opinion of a writer's verse.

Versifier is often used to refer to someone who produces work in verse with the implication that while technically able to make lines rhyme they have no real talent for poetry.

Rhymer on the other hand is usually always impolite despite attempts to salvage the reputation of rhymers such as the Rhymers' Club and Rhymer being a common last name. The Rhymers' Club was a group of London-based poets, founded in 1890 by W. B. Yeats.

Anyway, yeah, that was us; The Poetasters. And I was Cool Wip. HOLLA!

po·et·as·ter - noun - An inferior poet; a writer of indifferent verse. A writer of insignificant, meretricious, or shoddy poetry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellently written.