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Portrait of street poet monte smith

street poet monte smith

About street poet monte smith

Babylon, NC

Monte Smith is an internationally acclaimed Street Poet, Rap Journalist, Community Based Educator and Anti-Racist Activist from Winston Salem NC. He has been described as “a fire-brand… a true revolutionary, I mean raw!” by Bruce George, co-creator of HBO’S Def Poetry Jam. Elemental Magazine wrote “Poetry abounds in Hip Hop, but rarely does an individual’s work transcend the elements and conventions with a such a gripping emotional and political style.” More impressive is what UK’s Hip Hop/Jazz group US 3 had to say "If you drew a line from The Watts Prophets through Gill Scott Heron and Public Enemy to Dead Prez, uncompromising wordsmith Monte Smith would be the latest addition to the club. Listen up!" No wonder the Legendary Chuck D of Public Enemy picked Monte’s poem ‘The Deal is Done’ to record for the audio version of The Bandana Republic: A Literary Anthology by Gang Members and Their Affiliates. (Soft Skull Press)

Monte began his writing and activism career in the late 80’s and early 90’s working and writing anti-racist literature for revolutionary groups such as S.H.A.R.P and A.R.A. As the 90s continued, Monte created Third World Citizens, a Hip Hop collective that later spawned the careers of DJ’s Faust, (Bomb Records) DJ Klever, (DMC Champ) and DJ T-Roc (Bomb Records). Around the same time he started writing articles and conducting interviews for URB, SUBCULTURE, and HEADZ magazines. Over the years Monte has interviewed Maxine Waters, Black Moon, Old Dirty Bastard, DJ Qbert, KRS 1, The Beatnuts, Smif n Wessun, Crazy Legs, Black Thought (The Roots), Poet 99, Aceyalone, and AZ to name a few.

He is the creator and producer of the Red Bull Word Clash, the largest Street Poetry Competition in the world. The incendiary documentary of the Word Clash won the audience award at the 2006 New York City Indy Film Festival, and garnered accolades from such diverse news outlets as Greensboro, North Carolina’s “Triad Style” weekly entertainment newspaper to the Greek daily Eleftherotypia, which devoted a full page to coverage of the Word Clash.

Monte has also been interviewed and had his poetry reviewed by NPR, Amnesty International, The Source, Blogtalk Radio, Insomniac, Rap Pages and Guerrilla Underground dot com. The famous revolutionary, poet and playwright Amiri Baraka, in conversation with Dr. William Turner, a freelance journalist for the Winston Salem Journal, exclaimed that Monte was the reincarnation of Allen Ginsberg after watching him perform only one poem.

He has performed and lectured at Wake Forest University, Duke University, Guilford College and Loyola Mary Mount University. He has recorded with DJ Vadim (BBE Records) Breeze Evaflowin’ and MF Grimm. He was a featured poet on Def Poetry Jam dot com, chosen to speak as a stand in for Maya Angelou at the “Racial Equality Week” symposium at Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston Salem, NC, created a poetry work shop for high risk youth in Winston Salem, NC and has become a frequent lecturer at West Guilford High School in Greensboro NC.

Over the years Monte has won numerous slams including The Alabama Grand Slam, The Roanoke, Virginia Slam (two times in a row) and the infamous Rough Rhymes Competition. Monte has received standing ovations from Atlanta to Los Angeles to Boston and back. Most notably, he performed at the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City twice, received an encore at Mango’s open mic night in Washington D.C., and was featured at an anti- war rally in Athens, Georgia. He has opened for Amiri Baraka, J-Live, Talib Kweli (1000 + crowd), Little Brother, Mr. Complex, DJ Vadim, Abstract Rude, Saigon, Tanya Morgan and El Da Sensi. His poem/songs have appeared on mix tapes by DJ Lt Dan, DJ Soundmachine (DJ Qbert’s Mentor) and DJ Chela. Monte has joined forces with France’s top Hip Hop producer Junkos Mood. Together they have formed the revolutionary group Riot Radio and plan to release their first album, The Art of Killing Children at the end of 2009.

Monte has just finished his long awaited second book, Don’t Shoot the Hostages, which features an introduction by Bruce George and contains work by Carlos Andreas Gomez, J-Dee (of Da Lench Mob, notorious west-coast militant rap group), Abstract Rude (Project Blowed/A.T.U/ Freestyle Fellowship), The Mad Rabbi (Pens and Needles), and Andrew Davis. Monte’s first book, High Protein Tongue Arrangements: Poetry for the Urban Survivalist, Volume 1 quickly sold out of its first two printings. His brutal poems 6/15/83, Super Tramp, and The Deal Is Done are featured in The Bandana Republic: A Literary Anthology by Gang Members and Their Affiliates, out now on Soft Skull Press. Monte was also written in as a character into the now famous, Dutch II, by Kwame Teague (Terri Woods Press) which made it onto Essence Magazines annual Bestseller List and was featured on's Top 10 Books. His poem Dopeboy Folklore was featured in Dutch III (Terri Woods Press) and was released to the same acclaim.

Monte is currently shopping Don’t Shoot The Hostages and working on his third book.

More About The Artist

Portrait of street poet monte smith
street poet monte smith