New Internationalist


June 2005

Nakedness, for dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah, is something akin to a state of absolute truth. ‘Dis is me, revolting in front of you / I’m not much but I give a damn,’ he chants on the epic poem that gives this album, the first one to move away from his habitual reggae backbeats, its title.

To this end, Zephaniah has assembled a formidable array of musical collaborators to put their own rhythms to his words. Any album that brings together tabla player Aref Durvesh, Rick Smith, from the Underworld dance duo, and the great reggae bass player Dennis Bovell, deserves consideration, especially when it’s been knitted together by drummer and programmer Trevor Morais. The result is an album where words and music assume a perfect fit: ‘Naked’ is all electro, scattering beats; ‘Uptown Downtown’ is powered by a well-aimed staccato rhythm; while (for perversity’s sake) ‘Slowmotion’ has an intense, trancey feel – maybe its own plea that we take life at a different pace.

Zephaniah’s words are no less hard hitting. Well known for his promotion of justice and tolerance, he unleashes a righteous anger in ‘Rong Radio’ which attacks media disinformation and its ultimate inhumanity.

But he’s too smart to be seduced by the eternal rebel pose. Nowhere is this more apparent than on ‘Responsible’, a poem that tackles sexism, black history and gangster attitudes head on. And for those who need some help getting the message? Naked comes with 36 pages of lyrics, all illustrated by Banksy’s witty and subversive street art.

Benjamin Zephaniah: too smart to be seduced by the eternal rebel pose.

This column was published in the June 2005 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Never miss another story! Get our FREE fortnightly eNews

Comments on Naked

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Naked Fact File
Product information by Benjamin Zephaniah
Publisher One Little Indian
Product number TPLP403CDL CD
Star rating5
Product link

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Music

All Music

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 379

New Internationalist Magazine issue 379
Issue 379

More articles from this issue

  • Introduction

    June 1, 2005

    Introducing nurse Nancy Wambui Itotia, her dilemma – and her country's. Vanessa Baird reports.

  • Hope FM

    June 1, 2005

    To Kenya with Nancy to see what she has left behind – and the effect that the money she sends home has on her family.

  • The Neocons

    June 1, 2005

    George W Bush goes for broke with his neocon appointees to the World Bank, the UN and UNICEF.

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.