Jeronimo Speaks (@JeronimoSpeaks) To I Am Hip Hop !

Jer­on­imo Speaks, is blaz­ing a trail across the US using the emotive power of Spoken Word. The a Chica­go born poet, real name Jerode Rodgers has been stead­ily rising in pop­ular­ity since he first appeared on the Spoken Word and Poetry cir­cuit in 2010. With hard hit­ting and illu­min­at­ing poetry inspired by his obser­va­tions and life exper­i­ences, he has expan­ded his fol­low­ing and dazzled crit­ics, so much so that last year, Chicago’s P.O.E.T Organ­isa­tion named him Spoken Word Artist of the year. This Year, he was again nom­in­ated for the Poet of the Year, this time by the Mid­w­est Urb­an Music Awards. Con­sid­er­ing he has only been per­form­ing for three years and has already achieved so much, it is not hard to tell this young man has some­thing spe­cial. I am Hip-Hop caught up with Jer­on­imo Speaks to find out what the word really is.

Q.  Jer­on­imo, in the three years you’ve been writ­ing and per­form­ing you have received a num­ber of accol­ades and awards. What do you think the secret to your suc­cess is?

I bring a raw and gritty feel, unseen for a very long time to the poetry com­munity. My work eth­ic is unmatched, I grind 247 no mat­ter the weath­er, no mat­ter the cir­cum­stances, I stay con­sist­ent and bring it every time I touch a stage or a mic, plus I just genu­inely love what I do.

Q. What is it about the art that speaks to you? 

Poetry is import­ant to me because I feel like it is the unsung lan­guage of those with out a voice, it allows those who usu­ally would not be heard to be the centre of atten­tion, it allows the oth­er­wise quiet to scream till their hearts con­tent, it allows a flow of inform­a­tion to travel to ears oth­er­wise would nev­er have heard it and last but not least it touches hearts in a man­ner and depth that noth­ing else could ever do in my opin­ion. Spoken word inspires and give an out­look on life that relates to peoples every­day struggles, it makes them feel, it makes the audi­ence have emo­tions that they haven’t felt in a while, depend­ing on the poet they have the power to invoke any emo­tion they desire upon there listen­ers, and the fans love it.

Q. What influ­enced you to trans­ition from writ­ing raps to cre­at­ing spoken word pieces?

I was first intro­duced to spoken word in high school at an open mic [event] I did not know that spoken word was so enter­tain­ing. I thought all poetry was writ­ten in old Eng­lish or per­formed in a bor­ing mono­tone type of style. so when I first saw it and heard it per­formed like it was being done, I was instantly in awe and was a fan of the cul­ture and knew ever since than I would be an intric­ate part of it.

Q. In your opin­ion, what spe­cif­ic ele­ments dif­fer­en­ti­ate spoken word from rap and poetry? And how power­ful or inspir­a­tion­al do you think spoken word is in com­par­is­on?

In my opin­ion spoken word is the art of per­form­ance, and poetry is the writ­ten lan­guage of the art, and rap is the art of put­ting the words on a beat to a rhythm. In com­par­is­on i think all forms of the art can be equally as power­ful, it just depends on the listen­er, read­er, or audi­ence and how they are affected by the exper­i­ence.

Q. I abso­lutely love 500 Words of your EP Psalms of The Streets, which I expec­ted to be focused on Chris­tian­ity. Do you think sec­u­lar and non sec­u­lar pieces work togeth­er on one com­pil­a­tion?

I feel like sec­u­lar and non sec­u­lar tracks go hand in hand, it gives a more worldly stand point and a broad­er over­view of life and reli­gion. I take the stance that you should give both sides of every point you are try­ing to get across so the listen­ers can have a full under­stand­ing and come up with a com­plete opin­ion.

Q. Does it effect your Chris­ti­an and non Chris­ti­an listen­ers?

There are crit­ics in everything we do, when it comes to this art there will always be listen­ers who are nar­row minded, but in all the major­ity of my listen­ers receive my mes­sage in a pos­it­ive and enlight­en­ing way, and are inspired by what I have to give.

Q. “We cool” describes your own per­son­al rela­tion­ship with God. Do you think that our gen­er­a­tion gen­er­ally has a good enough rela­tion­ship with God?

 My gen­er­a­tion typ­ic­ally take the stand point of know­ing that there is a god, and know­ing there is a heav­en and hell, but don’t know how to start and keep a rela­tion­ship with God, the people who have the answers are not where the people who need the answers are at. There is a huge lan­guage gap between the church and the streets and because of this my gen­er­a­tion from my area usu­ally don’t have any real form of a rela­tion­ship with God, sad but true

Q. How import­ant do you feel it is for artists to cre­ate con­scious work that high­lights their real­it­ies?

It is very import­ant for artist to be as hon­est and real as pos­sible in there artistry, because I feel that its what fans listen and watch us for, to bring a truth to there real­ity and relate to what they may be going threw at the cur­rent time, or we can offer an escape from an harsh real­ity to a pleas­ant dream. It is very import­ant to be con­scious but also just as import­ant to be enter­tain­ing.

Q. So far in your career you have cre­ated a spoken word album and an EP. What are you work­ing on right now?

I am cur­rently work­ing on my spoken word EP “unspoken hip hop” and cur­rently work­ing on my hip hop ep “untitled” , I am trav­el­ling all over the coun­try as an spoken word artist, I have per­formed in places like New York, St. Louis, Benton Har­bor Michigan, Detroit Michigan, Mem­ph­is, Mil­wau­kee etc.

Q. Do you think people in the UK could relate to your work?

I feel no mat­ter the city, state, ghetto, or coun­try people have sim­il­ar if not the same issues and my word relate to all of them. We are all the same just in dif­fer­ent regions of the world.


To out more about Jer­on­imo Speaks and check out his spoken word vis­it


Han­nah Fran­cis





About Hannah Francis


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