Rudolph ‘Ruddapoet’ Adidi is a poet, graphic designer, teacher, guitarist, writer, performer and a graduate of Architecture from the University of Jos.
He is a former Abuja Literary Society (ALS) Poetry Slam champion, and also winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) poetry competition for 2016, Jos Gospel Arts and Music Awards (JOGAMA) best spoken word artiste of the year 2016.
He has co-authored a poetry collection with two other poets titled “83:03:17” which was released in 2017. Pioneer of guts of gods which started in Jos in the year 2016.
In 2017, he performed alongside WanaWana in TEDx Rayfield that was held in Jos, Nigeria after dropping his first studio album ‘Handwriting the L.P’ which was rated as one of the best spoken word albums in the poetry world.
He currently ranks as the No 3 poetry promoter in Nigeria according to EGC creativity ratings and has performed all around the country. He is the founder of TRCP.
Kulikuli: Please sir, can we get to know you, your name, what you do, where you schooled and everything in between?
Ruddapoet: Yeah. My name is Rudolph Adidi. I am a first born. I studied Architecture at the University of Jos. I was born and bred in Jos city of Plateau State. I grew into a story here and yes, I am scared of cockroaches.
Kulikuli: What the idea of story behind The Red Cap Poet
Ruddapoet: The story behind the Red Cap Poet…Let me see… It was my second slam ever in my life (The ALS slam competition) and I was competing with a redcap on my head. I had some few awards already to my name and I was still growing. That year I was in Abuja but never given a platform to perform. So the slam was the first stage I got on, and I won it. The only thing the audience remembered me for was ‘The Poet with the Red Cap.’ So the name stuck,and that gave birth to TRCP (The Red Cap Poet).
Kulikuli: Tell us about your recent album The Handwriting that is creating great impact in Nigeria
Ruddapoet: I’m not sure how you define “great impact,” but Handwriting is an album of 6 tracks and a bonus track (The Box). The album is a message. And i am fortunate to be the messanger. I’d like to call it a social commentary on life, love, war and living. I was fortunate enough to have some few good poets to work with. It is a fusion of content and delivery relating to the themes of God, man and society. It was produced by Surgeon and has a digital booklet. The album is made available for free so people can enjoy and live the message.
Kulikuli: What do you expect of this album?
Ruddapoet:Well, while we made it, I had this expectation, that good works like this should be bought. As liberal as art could be, it relieves the mind of sickness. So I expected handwriting to make people understand the concept of spoken word poetry and why it should be appreciated as it is enjoyed.
Kulikuli: How much of impact will a track make on your audience
Ruddapoet: I can’t say I know the amount of impact, but here is what I was looking out for with each track. As much as you enjoyed the style, delivery, content of a track. What the next track brought was way different from the previous track. And it was something overwhelming. It is left for the listener to absorb selectively the track with the message they want.
Kulikuli: This could be your first time releasing an album of this kind, if I’m not wrong and for the records, poets in Nigeria rarely release such… How do you feel being a topnotch in spoken word poetry?
Ruddapoet: Well, since the album dropped. I have been receiving messages from fans, budding poets, even rappers on how the album has been helpful and challenging to them (I don’t even know how). Before the release, I think I had a favorite track that I felt will draw the people to feel how I felt (I’m not telling you which). Listening to the feedback tells you we all have what we like. I will say all the tracks impact on very different levels.
Topnotch? Hahahahah… I will say thank you for that, only, I am a work in progress. Poetry is still growing here and the idea is to have quality poets and works out for people who fancy the art. It has been a long way so far, and the impression people have about spoken word poetry in the mainstream,isn’t totally encouraging. But that’s what we need, i’d say. Until spoken word poetry is accepted holistically, wider reach and impact may still be utopian.
Kulikuli: Unarguably, a lot of spoken word poets are rising and a lot of good poems are dropping everyday. Now, what exactly is your unique selling point? I mean, what distinguishes your piece from a host of others?
Ruddapoet: Hmmmm, difficult to point at it. One time I said it was the voice, after another performance you’d think it’s the confidence. Let me give you this analogy; you know how a good mother cooks a soup that makes you lick the plate and your fingers clean? You can hardly tell what really makes the soup tasty. Yes! That’s what I can say, what distinguishes me comes with a blizzard of good. It’s difficult to point at it.
Kulikuli: Writing is often seen as hard work, let alone writing and performance. How were you able to thrive amidst the challenges inherent in putting up a spoken word album?
Ruddapoet: The secret is to write everyday, on everything, and everytime. This will make you get better. I’m used to weaving pieces and performing. The challenge is which piece to record, but I did that by listening to my gut.
Kulikuli: There are a lot of spoken word poets in the industry that would love to release a spoken word album..
What do you advice?
Ruddapoet: My advise to them is to not hurry into recording, practice your poems, get into the performance. Make better your writing everyday and try to know your onions. When it’s truly time for an album, you would know.
Kulikuli:Are you of the opinion that spoken word poetry should have a certain standard, do you think that spoken word poet should work with certain standards in creating a good spoken word piece
Ruddpoet: Spoken word poetry should have standards, as dynamic as music could be, it is not all music videos that are aired on Soundcity TV, Hip TV, MTV base or Trace TV. Spoken word poets should dive into different directions of making spoken word poetry relevant. We all have a message to pass to an audience but we forget that spoken word poetry to an audience is like selling ice to an Eskimo. We need to garnish it and that is where these standards come into play. We should create the standards for quality and diversity.
Kulikuli:You made the list recently released by EGC and you placed third amongst other prominent spoken word poets in Nigeria, how do you feel about that?
Ruddapoet: Hahahahah, I don’t know. Overwhelmed I would say, it’s not easy for a kid whose idea of writing started as a medium to talk, to now rated third among a lot of acts he looks up to. I feel grateful.
Kulikuli: If you had a chance to work with any Nigeria spoken word poets, give a list of the spoken word poets.
Ruddapoet: A list…hmmm. Let’s say Efe Paul Azino, Graciano, Sage Hassan, Paul Word, Dike Chukwumerije just to mention a few. Don’t mind me, I’m very selective when it comes to who I work with or listen to.
Kulikuli:Spoken word poetry unlike music is developing and still trying to survive, most especially in Nigeria.
How are you working towards giving spoken word poets a voice?
Ruddapoet: I’m doing the best of what I can in my own way. I and a few poets started the Jos Poetry Slam, sometimes I take out time to tutor some poets in online classes, introduce them to EB Arts Organization for tutoring and mentorship. It’s just a lot to do, but I won’t relent until Spoken Word Poetry has found her niche and built a home here. There’s no sleeping yet.
Kulikuli: Do you envision seeing spoken word poetry go mainstream?
What are your hopes and plans for making it a reality?
Ruddapoet: Someone told me last week that I have gone mainstream. And I’m still trying to understand it. If by mainstream it means poets being paid well for their craft, become ambassadors, make a living out of poetry or even become leaders someday, then yes, there’s hope. Just making sure everything about spoken word poetry around me is of great quality. It will steal people’s minds and attention soon enough.
Kulikuli: Can you give us a hint about what to expect from you in the near future?
Ruddapoet: The nearest future could be tomorrow I hope. I don’t know what to expect but I do have plans to make a collaboration with a big name in the Music Industry, get International community to listen to my message and make my brand bigger.
Kulikuli: What do you think about kulikulipoetry?
Ruddapoet: Kulikulipoetry is doing a great job already promoting quality poetry out there to the world. I just pray they continue with their consistency. Spoken word poets need all the platforms they can get.