SOWETO Kinch is recasting the seven deadly sins as a day in the life of an aspiring inner-city MC in his brand new show The Legend of Mike Smith.
Award-winning jazz and hip hop star Kinch is opening the Birmingham Rep’s brand new space, The Studio, with a staged performance of his latest album which explores the old concept of sin in today’s material world.
“The setting is a contrast to Catholicism and the old world concept of sin and the very modern world of sin where it’s almost seen as a virtue,” says Kinch.
“It’s mired in a whole world of sins.
“All of it has come from my personal experience. I couldn’t have written about it if I didn’t understand the temptation.
“All too often, rappers and spoken word [artists] pontificate about how great they are.
“There’s already a time-honoured long path of topics for rappers; how good they are in the bedroom... that alpha male posturing.
“I wanted to tell the embarrassing part of being an artist.”
He isn’t kidding. At one point in the show, Kinch is rapping about when lust and loneliness hits and standards go out of the window, saying: “Your grandma isn’t past her prime, I’m half inclined to take her to the bar and grind.”
“What’s the point of talking about envy or lust if I’m not going to be in it?” he muses.
“The more honestly you can communicate, the more empathy you will get.
“All too often, you get on this soap box inadvertently. As a rapper who does this kind of thing, you get put in a political pigeon hole.
“Presenting these issues with humour and from a personal framework gives people no choice but to think about these issues.”
A famous alto-saxophonist and MC, the Oxford University graduate has also been involved in play writing but this is the first time he has combined all his talents to create an “immersive experience.”
The Legend of Mike Smith runs at the Birmingham Rep’s studio from September 12-28 before hitting the road for a national and international tour.