Kate Tempest–Marshall Law

Sometimes the place an artist is from serves to influence their work, but other times it is the raison d’être of their artwork.  Kate Tempest’s work exists to channel and examine South London.  A Ted Hughes Award winner for Brand New Ancients and Mercury Prize nominee for Everybody Down, Tempest’s art lives in a place where poetry and spoken word meet hip hop and rap.  Her delivery often looks to the meter of epic poetry, rising and falling in hypnotic rhythm.  She mixes classical form with modern subjects, placing a collection of desperate London characters under the microscope.  Marshall Law, the lead track off her debut album, uses a sparse alienating beat to feature her novelistic storytelling.  Tempest inhabits multiple characters on the track, able to embody both disgust and idealism at the music industry, but always with an undercurrent of anger throughout.  She doesn’t glorify having a tough life or excuse her characters’ actions, instead fully committing to exploring their shortcomings and weaknesses.  The more it unspools, the more painfully rich her work becomes.  It’s a captivatingly honest display that is simultaneously the ultimate product of where Tempest is from and like nothing else that has come out of it.

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