Southside Chicago poet turned rapper Malik Yusef (aka the Wordsmyth) started honing his craft in the mid-’90s with appearances at open-mike nights. While he was performing a spoken word set, director Ted Witcher was in the audience looking for inspiration for his next movie about urban poetry. Impressed by Yusef’s loose but powerful free-form style, he hired him as a coach for Lorenz Tate in 1997’s Love Jones. Inspired by the smooth lines of a jazz solo.” Moving back to rap, in 2003, Yusef released his debut solo album, The Great Chicago Fire — A Cold Day in Hell, which featured a long list of production credits and guest appearances that included Kanye West, Xtreme, Chantay Savage, Common, among others.
V.E.R.S.E. (Very Entertaining Recitals Spit Effortlessly)