Saturday, 23 May 2020

Review: PASSION, PAIN and DEMON SLAYIN by Nick Igbokwe

The collection trilogy PASSION, PAIN and DEMON SLAYIN describes itself as written "through the heart, from the heart and for the heart". But it operates through the senses too in a visceral TikTok vision: anything can be resampled and welded together to create the new.


My dish is made of a recipe
of sugar, spice and everything nice;

This is a lengthy collection of three often overlapping sections each themed with a nod to Kid Cudi's 2016 release of the same name. In the original Kid Cudi collaborates on tracks with artists ranging from Andre 3000 through Travis Scott to Willow Smith. And in the book, poems bounce off each other in what the author describes as a “plethora of contributions”. Lines are samples, song themes riffed and artists walk though as characters; a mashup of singers, thinkers, film dialogue, quotes from poems, texts, tweets, jazz, lyrics; there's even a shout out to Danielle Steele.

Reimagining is key. A Mike Posner sample highlights this with its self-referential echoes of the meetup with Avicii that led to I took a pill in Ibiza: itself a remade encounter put into words and then remixed before the track found success. Intertextual hints question versional reality: who owns the truth here? The lyricist, the singer, the remixer, the fan? The reporter?

[Interlude: Mike Posner]
Avicii died, and little homie calls me up, and he's crying. (Drip) I told him, "I'ma be honest
with you, if you don't get your shit together, you're next." And the truth is, by the time you
hear this song, I don't fuckin' know if he's gon' be alive or not. This is all compounded by
the fact that she and I do not speak anymore. I mean, am I the only one here who doesn't
know what the fuck is going on?

Earlier extract from WHAT ARE WE

...Took a long long walk
down a street in Ibiza.
Thoughts of flashing lights,
you on my arm
The other arm in a sling and cast.

Plaster o. Plaster of Paris.
Everything was rosy
till you took a trip
and I thought it was a bright idea
to sneak my side piece into our night stand....

The reader needs to work at times - has to be surefooted - to see where the poet and the sample connect (as direct quotes although usually attributed are often given different presentation as shown in the Molasses sample below). The text sample is a different beast to its music counterpart; the poet has to be vigilant on the reader's behalf to avoid confusion.

p&g can envision this book filtered into 45 minutes of live music, spoken word and video but in its present state this collection is a whole performance in a book. We look forward to seeing what comes next from Nick Igbokwe and the Mans Way Of Seeing Things collective. PASSION, PAIN and DEMON SLAYIN is published by The Blueprint Ng and you can find out more here @_nothingnobody @thoughtsbyman 

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