Thursday, 1 January 2009

Monte Smith


Monte Smith is an internationally acclaimed Street Poet, Rap Journalist, Community Based Educator and Anti-Racist Activist from Winston Salem NC. He has been described as “a fire-brand… a true revolutionary, I mean raw!” by Bruce George, co-creator of HBO’S Def Poetry Jam. Elemental Magazine wrote “Poetry abounds in Hip Hop, but rarely does an individual’s work transcend the elements and conventions with a such a gripping emotional and political style.” More impressive is what UK’s Hip Hop/Jazz group US 3 had to say "If you drew a line from The Watts Prophets through Gill Scott Heron and Public Enemy to Dead Prez, uncompromising wordsmith Monte Smith would be the latest addition to the club. Listen up!" No wonder the Legendary Chuck D of Public Enemy picked Monte’s poem ‘The Deal is Done’ to record for the audio version of The Bandana Republic: A Literary Anthology by Gang Members and Their Affiliates. (Soft Skull Press)

Monte began his writing and activism career in the late 80’s and early 90’s working and writing anti-racist literature for revolutionary groups such as S.H.A.R.P and A.R.A. As the 90s continued, Monte created Third World Citizens, a Hip Hop collective that later spawned the careers of DJ’s Faust, (Bomb Records) DJ Klever, (DMC Champ) and DJ T-Roc (Bomb Records). Around the same time he started writing articles and conducting interviews for URB, SUBCULTURE, and HEADZ magazines. Over the years Monte has interviewed Maxine Waters, Black Moon, Old Dirty Bastard, DJ Qbert, KRS 1, The Beatnuts, Smif n Wessun, Crazy Legs, Black Thought, (The Roots), Poet 99, Aceyalone, and AZ to name a few.

He is the creator and producer of the Red Bull Word Clash, the largest Street Poetry Competition in the world. The incendiary documentary of the Word Clash won the audience award at the 2006 New York City Indy Film Festival, and garnered accolades from such diverse news outlets as Greensboro, North Carolina’s “Triad Style” weekly entertainment newspaper to the Greek daily Eleftherotypia, which devoted a full page to coverage of the Word Clash.

Monte has also been interviewed and had his poetry reviewed by NPR, Amnesty International, The Source, Blogtalk Radio, Insomniac, Rap Pages and Guerrilla Underground dot com. The famous revolutionary, poet and playwright Amiri Baraka, in conversation with Dr. William Turner, a freelance journalist for the Winston Salem Journal, exclaimed that Monte was the reincarnation of Allen Ginsberg after watching him perform only one poem.

He has performed and lectured at Wake Forest University, Duke University, Guilford College and Loyola Mary Mount University. He has recorded with DJ Vadim, (BBE Records) Breeze Evaflowin’, and MF Grimm. He was a featured poet on Def Poetry Jam dot com, chosen to speak as a stand in for Maya Angelou at the “Racial Equality Week” symposium at Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston Salem, NC, created a poetry work shop for high risk youth in Winston Salem, NC and has become a frequent lecturer at West Guilford High School in Greensboro NC.

Over the years Monte has won numerous slams including The Alabama Grand Slam, The Roanoke, Virginia Slam (two times in a row) and the infamous Rough Rhymes Competition. Monte has received standing ovations from Atlanta to Los Angeles to Boston and back. Most notably, he performed at the Nuyorican Poets CafĂ© in New York City twice, received an encore at Mango’s open mic night in Washington D.C., and was featured at an anti- war rally in Athens, Georgia. He has opened for Amiri Baraka, J-Live, Talib Kweli (1000 + crowd), Little Brother, Mr. Complex, DJ Vadim, Abstract Rude, Saigon, Tanya Morgan and El Da Sensi. His poem/songs have appeared on mix tapes by DJ Lt Dan, DJ Soundmachine (DJ Qbert’s Mentor) and DJ Chela. Monte has joined forces with France’s top Hip Hop producer Junkos Mood. Together they have formed the revolutionary group Riot Radio and plan to release their first album, The Art of Killing Children at the end of 2009.

Monte has just finished his long awaited second book, Don’t Shoot the Hostages, which features an introduction by Bruce George and contains work by Carlos Andreas Gomez, J-Dee (of Da Lench Mob, notorious west-coast militant rap group), Abstract Rude (Project Blowed/A.T.U/ Freestyle Fellowship), The Mad Rabbi (Pens and Needles), and Andrew Davis. Monte’s first book, High Protein Tongue Arrangements: Poetry for the Urban Survivalist, Volume 1 quickly sold out of its first two printings. His brutal poems 6/15/83, Super Tramp, and The Deal Is Done are featured in The Bandana Republic: A Literary Anthology by Gang Members and Their Affiliates, out now on Soft Skull Press. Monte was also written in as a character into the now famous, Dutch II, by Kwame Teague (Terri Woods Press) which made it onto Essence Magazines annual Bestseller List and was featured on's Top 10 Books. His poem Dopeboy Folklore was featured in Dutch III (Terri Woods Press) and was released to the same acclaim.

Monte is currently shopping Don’t Shoot The Hostages and working on his third book



Talk The Talk

It’s funny, every time I’m interviewed I’m always asked, “What makes you write the way you do?” Well…

I write like I do
because John Brown inspired me too
because I’m an Abolitionist
because of the no fly list
because of unjust taxes
because the pigs are still using poor people as target practice
because 911 was an inside job
because The School of the Americas is still open, therefore Latin Amerikkka
is still open to rob
because the majority of blacks in this penal colony still follow the master’s religion
because we’re killing ourselves over simple traditions
because James Byrd has been forgotten
because greed is starving our souls
because Babylon is so rotten
because Brandon McClellan’s story hasn’t been told

I write like I do
because the Move 9 needs me too
because you may be thinking change, but Obama won’t free Mumia
because someone raped and killed sister Rita
because AIDS is man made
because the C.O.’s killed brother Wade
because hate caved in Emmett Tills head
because most whites believe racism is dead
because there’s a war against the youth and no one cares
because Curtis Mayfield died broke in a wheelchair
because the mark of the beast isn’t 666, it’s the cross around your neck
because Rap music is under corporate check
because 160 private prisons are functioning in 26 states
because our sanity is at stake
because revolutionary music is under federal attack
because many of you haven’t read the Patriot Act
Author's Note
To simply put it, the word is not to be fucked with. Too many poets/writers have been imprisoned, tortured and killed for their words. (David Walker, William Cooper, Bob Marley).

In fact, the power of language suffers when poets/writers come unequipped to be fighters. In an essay on “Dub” poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, Tom Terrell wrote:“From the moment man’s vocabulary evolved from grunts to vowels, the primal power of the spoken word has shaped his world”.

Now, with that in mind let me ask you, are you ready to shape the world in the tradition of our fallen? Look around -- someone has to take the lead. The media has failed us, Hollywood distracts us.
The truth is, or should I say the problem is, the primal power of language today is only understood by most people in the forms of rate plans, two dollar ring tones and high speed dial up.

And to add kosher salt to the stab wound, the educational system in this country does everything it can NOT to stimulate change. Imagine for a moment… you’re back in your eighth grade English class, and instead of being force fed Moby Dick you had the option of H. Rap Brown’s Die Nigger Die. Overstand, we will never find anything greater in life than the systematic misery of dying on broken knees,
if we don’t speak out…

Not accepting and openly discussing the truth is the reason why lower class society continues to fester in social and economic chaos! Even as we speak, global trade systems set up by elite families posing as governments and corporations have the average man slaving for a fortune that will never be, and to keep control over his confused and idle mind, praying to a god he’ll never see. The programming is world wide
and remains due to the divide between poor people like you and me.

That’s right; the controllers/directors of society want us silent, uncertain and stressed as we chase pennies,
dope boys and meaningless intercourse. They reinforce these suicidal values through military recruiting, lack of opportunity and commercial radio. In fact, we think we’re living in a democracy because there are a hundred selections of cereal on isle four. What about real choices? That’s what’s needed, not fixed
elections and wars! And now with the Patriot Act on the hip of every right wing Christian in power, its open season on anyone who speaks out on:

Police Killings
The Real Drug War
America, the Plantation
9/11 Being an Inside Job
The Prison Industrial Complex
Adults Raping and Killing Children

Let’s not forget the current administration, better yet the elite families who prop them up. Reinforcing why it’s so important to speak out. It’s a reminder to the blood suckers of the poor: no matter who you murder, lock up, or infiltrate - Fred Hampton, Mumia Abu Jamal, The Watts Prophets - there will ALWAYS be someone to take their place!
The Art Of Killing Children

The idea of God creates power
and so does money
and the two together create genocide
and bloody Sundays

It’s called

Ethnic Cleansing
washing the opposed in genocide
mass homicide
organized religion is nothing to be proud of
the dividing is killing
and looming around the remaining
lonely for a suitable life
that doesn’t include “the decision”
because when your poor
it’s either resistance or religion
and when the two mix
death dresses in persistence

Therefore this is written for the innocent children
being mentally murdered by the words
of what another man say
I say a rich preacher
is a poor servant to his or her God
making car payments off the hope and faith
of their supposed fallen flock
unlike some
I won’t support their hookers and golf trips

I believe music is God
and the vibe has been mistaken
for man, by man
for way too long
children of rebellious music
open your ears
and listen to the rhythm in your soul
music is the only action they can’t control

But religion though
it’s all ill-gotten gains
and while the majority trains
to kill in the name of King James
I ask you?

Are you a part of the problem or the solution?
Because if you believe in organized religion
how will you be among those who one day
will celebrate organized revolution?


What are we believing in a man-made God for?

You like contributing to slavery, cannibalism and war?

You mean to tell me you condone the actions of honor killings, suicide bombers and bank tellers slinging
“In God We Trust?”

I know it’s off the subject
but if that’s truly the case
then why can’t the homeless
sleep in banks and other holy places
when the shelters are full?

Do trust

Most can’t imagine pitch-black after life

Where’s the meaning?

Where’s the light?

So being the creative creatures we are
we create the great vice
to determine who’s been naughty or nice
and in return

Islam continues to be taken out of context
Dr. York was convicted of forcing children to have sex
in World War II the pope helped the Nazis kill Jews
and in return Jews think they’re the chosen few
Understand I am not here to offend you

But Christianity is as much to blame for slavery
as the Portuguese

So tell me

After all these years of holy war
when do we receive solidarity?

Its time to get off our knees
and see the real charity
human beings
right here
and miserable


Because the idea of God creates power
and so does money
and the two together create genocide
and bloody Sundays

It’s called
ethnic cleansing
washing the opposed in genocide
mass homicide
organized religion is nothing to be proud of
the dividing is killing

It is killing US!
The Enemy At Home

I don’t know about you, but it’s funny
to hear Hannity on TV telling me to
keep my eyes open for the enemy at

Hell, the police are everywhere I go.

It’s been time to show the propaganda
machine it’ll remain impossible to reach
us as long as his-story’s in pieces.

To me, it doesn’t make sense like Mary
and Jesus.

How many victims of police brutally do
we have in the place to be?

Who remembers Tompkins Square Park,
Kent State or Howard Beach?

I debate, we can’t wait on man’s laws to
manifest justice for humanity’s sake.

These past acts of protectin’ and servin’
prove the scales will remain unbalanced
until the pigs find their rights burnin’ in
the same fire that’s cooking ours in broad

I’m tellin’ ya, they’ll bomb you like MOVE
in Philadelphia.

Who remembers Shaka Sankofa,
the Massacre at Waco, Talkin’Blues?

Sorry Bob, Slave Driver caught the fire
and threw it back with plenty of matches,
pipes and crack all wrapped up in a CIA
party pack with a little tag attached reading:

Die Niggers.

So to all the rich fraternities and sororities
cloning soon to be judges and DAs, stop
booking reggae bands at your keg parties.

It’s a slap in the face of the starving.

For real, you need to think about that the next
time you’re “Jamming ‘til the jamming is through.”
Off the record smoking herb with the
band but in five years you’ll be responsible
for the building of more death camps
to imprison their youth.

Who remembers JFK or MLK gettin’
bucked by the United States government?

The special interest groups are loving it.

Yeah, killing you for fun is stress relief
for the murderers we pay to carry guns.

Who remembers Tupac in Atlanta or
Rodney King in Los Angeles?

Now is the time to unify our learning.

Next time the burning begins don’t waste
your time breaking windows and stealing
TVs. If you get the urge to loot call me
at 555-pick-up-a-gun-and-shoot.

The American police state has the poor
on their dinner plate. If you don’t believe
me just check the minority conviction rate
in DC.

And for anybody who thinks I’m just talking
shit, non-believer get it correct.
Before the show I copped a burner and when I’m done here I’m gonna jam “Fuck the Police” in the
tape deck, bounce to the second street overpass,
call 911 with a fake report, wait on the first pig
I see then,


I’m gonna smoke his ass.

I’ve come to realize, that’s the best way to fuck
the police. Besides, I’m fresh out of grease and

Now tell me, how many soldiers do we have in
the place to be and who the fuck feels expendable?
If You Had A Son, What would You Say?
(Lesson 1: Don’t trust your eyes)

Author’s Note: Teach your own at home… first!


Yes son.

“What does distraction mean?”

Well son let’s see, I believe distraction to be
the favorite tool of governments, elite families
and contracted media firms worldwide, to try
and keep you and I willingly locked in our homes
after five, intoxicated, fast food fed and Lazy
Boy satisfied.


The act of being distracted is a subliminal form
of conditioning and can easily be detected by
the rancid, capitalistic stench of malnutrition
and terror that’s endured by we, the unfortunate
inhabitants who unjustly remain economically
railroaded into sixty hour work weeks of
constant panic and no sleep.

“I don’t understand daddy.”

Distraction is unknowingly trading your mind,
resistance and freedom for self serving programs
of idle satisfaction, such as Block Buster Videos,
plasma screens and remote controls. It’s also
the Internet, commercial Hip Hop magazines,
and next year’s Super Bowl, all intentionally
written to steer the consumer from ever seeking
revolutionary action and due to the practice
of these distractions, one out of every two
consumers is either reprogrammed or non active!


Why son, some programs are created so you jones
for’em, get high then go to jail for’em, for example,

A Partnership for a Drug Free America is prime
distraction in action. How can it not be, when the
key members just happen to be: Philip Morris,
Anheiser Bush, and far to many pill pusher’s to
name, all banned together to keep cannabis illegal,
so Marlboro, Budweiser and Tylox can remain in
control of the real dope game!

Tell me more.

Distraction is feeling good about the war and
“re-electing” Bush in 2004. It’s simple, Bush stole
office and we lost our jobs. It’s simple, Bush stole
office and we watched window jumper’s on 9/11.
the temple.

Remember, the poverty we fester in is a direct
result from the elite helping themselves at the
expense of systematically killing those beneath
them for thousands of years.

What is distraction? Everything around you son,
even your peers!


Coming Soon!

AIM North Carolina

Monte Book
Monte Smith has poetry published in/on:

“The Bandana Republic, A Literary Gang Anthology” ( Soft Skull Press )
“Dutch 2” – Angel’s Revenge ( Terri Woods Publishing )
“Dutch 3” – The Finale ( TRU Publishing )
Subculture Magazine ( Los Angeles, CA )

Monte Smith has numerous Hip Hop articles and interviews published in:
Urb Magazine
Subculture Magazine
Headz Magazine
312 Magazine
Monte Smith has been interviewed and reviewed by:

NPR (National Public Radio)
Amnesty International Magazine
The Source Magazine
Rime Magazine
Rap Pages Magazine
Elemental Magazine
Insomniac Magazine
Greensboro News and Record
Winston Salem Journal
Capital X Associated Content

Street Poet Monte Smith

© 2012, Monte Smith. All rights reserved.

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