Thursday, November 1, 2001

Review - Supa Sista

Artist: Ursula Rucker

Posted on Thu, Nov 1, 2001 at 4:00 AM

"Supa Sista" is a perfect example of slam poetry: confrontational and strong, with particular attention paid to the nuance of language as it's heard as opposed to written. Philadelphia native Ursula Rucker (The Roots, Bilal) has constructed a monument of slam on her debut album. That it isn't a terribly interesting album isn't indicative of Rucker's failings as an artist. Rather, it points out the failings of a great deal of slam poetry.

For all of its bombast, slamming rarely rises above riffing on what has come before. The uplifting "Womansong" and "Letter to a Sister Friend" are good poems, but, frankly, Sonia Sanchez and Nikki Giovanni did it all better 30 years ago. Rucker does break some new ground on "Wha'?," a searing indictment of the state of hip-hop, and "Digichant," which provocatively addresses the disconnect hu-mans face through ever higher technology. Both are brief detours on a trip that is just business as usual.

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