There have been quite a few moments this year where we’ve had the privilege of witnessing something truly special in The Independent’s music studio.
But I think my favourite was this: Inviting Loyle Carner, one of the most original and promising new artists of the past few years, and Benjamin Zephaniah, one of the highest-regarded poets in Britain today, to meet each other and talk about art, Shakespeare, family, and everything in-between.
I knew Loyle had read Benjamin’s poetry at school and was definitely inspired by him as a fellow writer. And interviewing Benjamin last year, he spoke about how rappers were creating their own poetry, using their own lives as inspiration and creating new techniques.
So we invited them both to come and speak to one another in the studio – where an instant friendship was struck up, and they engaged in a conversation that was at various moments hilarious, fascinating, and very moving.
Loyle is as much a poet as he is a rapper – his words have a resonance and power that many of his peers struggle to find, perhaps because Loyle has a rare ability to be utterly personal with his art, and put everything he has into the music.
It was beautiful to see how much it meant to him when Benjamin explained his take on Loyle’s Mercury Prize-shortlisted album Yesterday’s Gone – and to hear Loyle explain how Benjamin’s work had been the first he read cover-to-cover after learning he had dyslexia.
I hope you enjoy watching as much as we did.
The Hyundai Mercury Prize awards show takes place on Thursday 14 September at the Eventim Apollo in London – you can watch it from home on BBC4.
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