“We’ll stack memories so high that the sky turns bright black,” he says while performing. Underground artist, cultural advocate and Africana studies/Literary theory graduate student Reggie Eldridge of the University of South Florida is a memorable wordsmith. Amongst simple rhyme schemes and the instant gratification of others’ mindless poetic perpetuations, he shines.
A lyricist with a soft voice, understated smile, and only two years under his belt, one might not expect him to spew such revolution. But, he does. He revs readers and transports ideas to elevated planes with the unprecedented passion of a performer whose profits and internal peace depend upon sharing his pieces.
His influences help mold his brilliance. He acknowledges Pablo Neruda, Toni Morrison, Bob Marley, Talib Kweli, Walter Rodney, Mahmoud Darwish, Nina Simone and several others.
“I’m inspired by everyone who can pique my curiosity and expand my perspective,” he responds.
To hear his craftiness is to subconsciously join the movement, to become de facto down. He speaks politics, history, complacency, love (and making), peace and existence while simultaneously acknowledging that the fight to be is an unending battle that enlightened people must continue.
His intellectual arsenals include a pen of profundity and a jaw full of pride. Both earned him fourth place in the Southern Fried Poetry Slam. (At least 100 poets competed.)
An Einstein quote gets him through.
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
He turns typical notions of color symbolism inside out as he frequently uses black to represent evolution, beauty and incandescence.
He confidently conquers preconceived penile propaganda and avoids warped indoctrinations aligning gender and power. Listeners can’t expect him to attach surface religion or Majestic misogyny to his unending rhythmic complexities.
“Surely God needs no penis to be omnipotent savior.”
Serenely calamitous, he has the potential to birth epiphanies in the solemn listener. He entrances. He is cosmology, concept and occasional crunk. (See “Dumb Down for the Masses.”)
Regardless of his delivery choice, venue or literary tools, he finds ways to maintain a conscious je ne sais quoi. He is approachable. He is contemplative. He is innately language driven.
“Our words can moves planets if we speak and believe.”
Reggie’s poetry satiates souls.
He’s your favorite poet’s favorite poet. If he’s not yet, he will be. But don’t expect him to idly scrawl and lament about an “earth warming to a culture of empty fixations” in the interim.
He is equipped to add depth to a lyrical market saturated by superficiality and misguided values.
“If you look with eyes that do not accept artificial light you will see how chaos is absorbed into skin,” he expresses.
The remedy to such chaos is knowledge. However he knows that it is optional. “Some drink this blindness willingly.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: To experience some of Reggie’s works, hit the following links.
www.youtube.com (search Reggie Eldridge)