Ursula Rucker is one of the premiere spoken word recording artists in the music industry today. As a poet and performance artist, Ursula has enchanted critics and fans across the globe with her diverse repertoire, captivating vocals and accessible poetic verse.
Since 1994, Ursula has shared her songwriting talent and mesmerizing voice with an array of recording artists and producers including King Britt, 4 Hero, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Josh Wink and The Roots. Each was drawn to the soft spoken eloquence and undeterred honesty which have become Ursulas signature.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Ursula began documenting her observations of the world when she was just a girl. A graduate of Temple Universitys journalism program, she kept her creative writing as a prized, personal possession until she was prepared to share her gift with the world. In 1994, Ursula introduced an open-mic night audience at Philadelphias Zanzibar Blue to the beauty and urgency of her poetry.
Word quickly spread throughout the city of Ursulas poetry and stage performance, which has been described as "strong, vulnerable, wounded and raging." Producer King Britt was quick to recognize Ursulas talent and invited her to create her first spoken word recording, the 1994 club classic, Supernatural (Ovum/Slip N Slide UK).
Dance music fans and spin doctors were quickly enamored with Ursulas mystical vocals. According to Britt, while the original and remixes of Supernatural were celebrated in clubs all over the globe, the most popular version remains the acapella.
Critics were quick to compare Ursula to celebrated writers like Sonia Sanchez and Nikki Giovanni. Coincidentally, when Ntozake Shange was unable to provide The Roots with a spoken word contribution for their debut album do you want more?!!?!! (Geffen, 1994), they called on Ursula to fit the bill. The Unlocking, which closed do you want more?!!?!!, introduced Ursula to the world of progressive hip-hop and led to subsequent invitations to close The Roots follow-up albums iladelph halflife (Geffen, 1996) and the certified gold record things fall apart (MCA, 1999).
The alluring poetic tales Ursula created for The Roots contain subject matter that was motivated by genuine concern and heightened consciousness. Whether exploring sexual exploitation as in The Unlocking or introducing the lifestyle of a crack-dealing single mother in Adventures in Wonderland, Ursula provided listeners with an intimate glimpse of urban reality. Ursula has been described as part of a growing movement that is slowly adapting its aural sensibilities to women, particularly in the hip-hop and urban music divisions. Counteracting male artists who casually linger on tales of black whoredom, Ursula plays an essential role in the rise of a new crop of female recording artists who deliver strong, intelligent, and visionary feminine flavor.
In countless reviews, many critics cite the value of Ursulas work with The Roots, 4 HERO and others. The onslaught of press inquiries resulted in nods, features and demands for more of her work, in URB, VIBE, XXL, Panache, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Straight No Chaser. To date, Ursula has performed her work at an array of venues, universities and festivals including the Montreax Jazz Festival, the 1999 Winter Music Conference, the Theater of the Living Arts, the Painted Bride Arts Center, and Drexel University. Ursula has toured with Jamaaladeen Tacuma, SYLK130, and 4 HERO in the United States and Europe.
Ursula is pleasantly surprised by the reception her spoken word recordings and live performances have received. With inquiries for live performances throughout the United States and Europe, Ursula is looking forward to presenting her work, with original accompaniment by DJ/Producer Robert Yancey III, during the summer of 1999.
Ursulas upcoming releases include the mermaid-fantasy driven Circe for Guidance Recordings spoken word compilation Urban Renewal and the haunting single Soon for Unbound, a benefit album for Mumia Abu Jamal. Additionally, the highly anticipated re-release of Supernatural will be dropped in the UK on Slip N' Slide in the near future. In September, Ursula will settle into recording sessions for her first solo album on Ovum Recordings (Sony/Columbia).
CONTACT: KELLY SLOANE, TOFFEE MANAGEMENT @ 215-413-2328 (June 1999)
|Artist: The Roots f/ Ursula Rucker
Album: Things Fall Apart
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to Innocence Lost
Muffled sound of fist on flesh
Blows to chest
You ain't nothing but white trash, bitch!
With each hit, each kick, each...broken rib
Bones are crying
Mommy's crying and bleeding
Daddy wants to fuck
Dick hard, swelled with power rush
And as if all that wasn't enough
Mommy's seven months heavy with birth
As...Daddy grunts and cursed drunk nothings in her bloodied ear
And never forget
Mommy almost bled to death when she have him...finally
She'd already lost...three
Uterus-bruised, shredded, and weak
From being daily beat
And Friday nights were the worse and...
Daddy never came with flowers
Instead he spent hours at some corner spot
With some bar pop named Cookie
Putting his thing down
Soiling Mommy's sheets with...
Cookie's cheap lipstick,
Hair grease, sperm, and jezebel juice
To hell with the good news that...
He was a father for the first time
His thirst for wine and women
Clouded his vision...
No warm welcome for mother and son
The rank smell of ass-crack, funk, and cum
But Mommy's prayerful strength-her best defense
She...burned the dirty linens
Made a fresh bed
Laid sleeping First Son down
And never made a sound
As she purged her scourge
With birth-blood and quiet tears
Watching as her fears and love and sacrifice
Lie there in his soft skin and new life
Breathing, dreaming, fresh from God's eye
Mommy's little survivor
Mommy called crazy and scorned
'Cuz she two more born
One boy soon after
The girl much later and...
Although they were both sung the same lullabies of hate
Her...First Son, the first one
Whose...womb-world was profaned
Came of age playing street games
With Stewie, Rezzie, and Little Brother
'Till his heart start to wither
In pain and shame
Blamed Mom for the wrong she let Daddy do to her
Let...sins of the Father cause his Innocence to wander
Found out amongst thieves
Chose to squander his dreams
Stopped believing in himself
Become prodigal with his life
Make impossible shit right with...
Gang-ties, crime, lies
Erase wise, woeful words of Mother
Replaced them with absurdities of others
Who had also lost their way
Played a different kind of street game now
First Son plunged deep
Speak street-family vows
Espouse no causes but his own
See, he couldn't protect Mommy's neck from Daddy's grasp
Or...protect Mommy's ass from Daddy's wrath
Couldn't shield her ears from...
Daddy's foul-mouthed, liquor-breath jeers
His only defense-served be confidence
Brown bottles housed his swift descent
Phones called cops on block frequent for his shenanigans
Now...Daddy and him twins in addiction
Driven to false-hearted heavens and friends
By liquefied demons
Had become what he despised from Conception 'til End
Destined for a demise
Survived nine lives of staying high
Conning, jewelry-pawning, arrests, theft
Womanizing...only for money, never for sex
Bullet in chest, baseball bat to the head
Left for dead
So, eyes wide and glassy
Speech...slowed and slurred
Lips twitched with caked-up codeine candy
And mouth corners one December 24th
Mr. Hide and False Friend
Took final ride to suburban supplier
Shots were fired by the gray man
With shaky hand
But not shaky enough to miss...
Hit...Lost Boy in back
So-called Friend runs for door
Leaves First Son blood-born
Lying alone in blood on cold floor
Death was the cause of...
Returning to Innocence Lost...
Baby 'Sis awake for dawn on Christmas morn
To Mommy's sobs and shakes
Daddy's silhouettes of regret
All past, omitted, and absolved by lost
As they clung to each other
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|Buy CDs which Feature Ursula Rucker
4 HERO Interview