Music News

Renda Writer

Renda Writer's personal motto, according to his website, is "pimp yourself." It's a constant theme throughout the 33 tracks on his second full-length, Eclectic Poetic, an album that is half hip-hop and half spoken word. Writer's beat-backed tracks like "We're All Connected" and "3:15 am" outshine the a cappella ones. Luckily, though, Writer doesn't fall into the trap of trying to sound like some tough-guy poet turned rapper. He pulled off the incredibly difficult task of laying down a disc full of spoken-word tracks that's worth listening to twice. The opening song "Who Am I?" is a series of statements that lay out his personality and where he's coming from, followed by the obvious question, "But who am I?" Throughout the two-minute track, it becomes clear who Writer is — a white heterosexual guy from South Florida who's working as a salesman somewhere. But ultimately, the guy was born a poet. Two of the best songs feature local singers and poetry buddies. On "Love Games," the sultry vocals of Boca Raton's Cat Shell add a jazzy flair; "Brand New" brings in a didgeridoo-wielding Xavier Hawk, a local tribal hip-hop singer who lays down some interesting beat box-style vocals to back Writer's lyrics.

The lyrics throughout Eclectic Poetic are self-exploratory and can slip into clichés, and the album works best on the hip-hop-style tracks (the ones where he sounds more like Eminem than Anne Sexton). But overall, Writer manages to be insightful without being preachy. And for a poet, that's what really counts. Check out www.rendathepoet.com.

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Jake Smith