Ep 127 – Otis Mensah (two Hip Hop Poets on a pod)

“This life is like some buffer rings // Just buffering”, is part of the hook to this Otis Mensah track from 2018. This couplet has singled itself out as both a COVID-lockdown and bad-wifi mantra, which means I’ve been humming it to myself repeatedly these days. We don’t discuss it in the episode, but the first time I met Otis Mensah we were sharing in a panel discussion on subculture and the mainstream for Poet In The City at Kings Place in June 2018, where the London Podcast Festival takes place, and I said to him in passing after a pre-panel interview, ‘we gotta do a full interview one day’, and committed it to my private wishlist of Lunar interviews. The day’s come, and I’m ecstatic.

Otis is a Hip Hop Artist, poet, and philosopher, who raps and writes and thinks about life and the world with a detailed eye and an honest pen. He’s a sharp and generous mind, an expressive performer and conversationalist, and someone who through their work and as a mate has never been too far out of my mind since that panel in 2018. Across the hour we go into Otis’ creative processes, his motivations and challenges, his concept of introspective documentarianism, and chat finding ourselves within Hip Hop, poetry, and society, and the academic world.

The episode is available wherever you get your podcasts, incl Spotify. The full transcript will be here soon and the next episode will be with Bridget Hart (Burning Eye Books) on Feb 10th. P.S, the Burning Eye submissions window is open until 28th Feb.

Hope everyone’s keeping safe, staying positive and testing negative, and staying hydrated, both literally and conceptually.

Peter deGraft-Johnson

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