Maya Angelou was one of the black community’s most iconic voices for most of her adult life, and even though she passed away earlier this year, she has continued to share meaningful contributions to the conversation about race in the United States. One of the most prominent of these additions to her body of work was the release of posthumous album Caged Bird Songs. On the compilation, Maya shares new spoken word poems that are set to beats created by RoccStar and Shawn Rivera of the R&B vocal pop group Az Yet.
In an interview with NPR, Rivera remarked that Angelou was a hip-hop artist before such a thing even truly existed.
“When you read the poems on the page, they can be interpreted rhythmically by the reader. But when Dr. Angelou reads them, there’s no doubt that she was coming from the place of rhythm…. You can tell the rhythms were implied already. She already was the first lady of hip-hop.”
Do you think Maya Angelou was the real first lady of hip-hop?
[Image via Fireflies of Hope]