Big Poppa E

Big Poppa E performs slam poetry, which often is a bit too pretentious for my enjoyment, and I usually dig affectations. However, I am not too keen on urban hipsters extolling the eloquence of guttural sexual sounds as profound expression, while usually attacking the spiritual degradation of America from a standpoint that always seems Rastafarian, or somehow points out how their ethnic group, gender, social class, religion, fashion sense, musical tastes, hobbies or general “spunky” personality is being crushed by “The Man.” Do not get me wrong- I think this country is full of indolent zombies, and “The Man” actually is crushing all that, but I guess that almost seems too easy to write about these days. Therefore, when a truly gifted comedic poet comes along, who uses laughter to make us escape this pitiful downward spiral, I have a certain admiration for his abilities.

Take these excerpts from Big Poppa E’s seminal effort, his first claim to fame, and undoubtedly most popular work: The Wussy Boy Manifesto:

When I'm at a stoplight and
some testosterone redneck
jock fratboy asshole dumb fuck
pulls up beside me
blasting his Trans AM's stereo
with power chord anthems to big tits
and date rape,
I no longer avoid his eyesight, hell no,
I just crank all 12 watts of my car stereo
and i rock out right into his face:
"I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does!"


Bring the pain, punk,
beat the shit out of me!
Show everybody in this bar
what a real man can do
to a shit-talking Wussy Boy like me,
but you'd better remember:
my bruises will fade
my cuts will heal,
my scars will shrink and disappear,
but my poem
about the pitiful, small, helpless
cock-man oppressor you really are
will last

Big Poppa E is Eirik Ott. He lives in Austin, Texas, has written five chapbooks of poetry, appeared on Def Poetry three times, 60 Minutes, and has been acclaimed by many national newspapers and news publications. While he often writes with a cynical tone, he still manages a veneer of humor that often empowers the alienated. He has gained quite a following since he debuted his work in 1999, and many of his poems- that once could be found easily- have disappeared from the net. “Leaving Reno” was a more incisive poem about materialism engulfing the human spirit, which conveys more of E’s cynical depth than the more lighthearted The Wussy Boy Manifesto.

Big Poppa E claims to be a “spoken word” artist, so reading his poems does not do justice to the passion he invokes when performing live. While I think sometimes the art of speaking the poem jeopardizes the actual art of the poem, sometimes degenerating into more of a song than a pure poem (and there is a difference, though song lyrics can be poems), Big Poppa E uses inflections and charismatic vocal changes and gestures to convey the message he is attempting to translate in a moving, balanced manner.


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