Def Poetry Jam hit our airwaves nearly 15 minutes ago with a deep force. To this day, people still marvel at the levels of literary magnificence that each artist displayed every week for a half hour. Whether they were local spoken word artists or actual entertainers, Def Poetry Jam has cultivated a cult following and permanently etched a place in our hearts. I've gathered 13 throwback pieces from the smooth excellence that was Def Poetry Jam. Trigger warning as some material may be sensitive.


Ursula Rucker's "What a Woman Must Do"

Rucker takes no prisoners in an emotionally-driven poem aimed towards anyone telling a woman what she should and shouldn't do.


Pat's Justice's "Innocent Criminal"

Dripping in his native L.A. tongue, Pat's Justice talks about the criminal justice system and the levels of injustice against the black man with "Innocent Criminal".


Thea Monyee's "Woman to Woman"

Monyee touches on that cringeworthy moment when someone approaches you "woman to woman". Yikes.


Tamara Blue's "Thick Chicks"

In this ode to women with curves, Blue proudly speaks of the beauty that is being a woman of size.


Sista Queen's "Try Being A Lady"

Sista Queen breaks down the harmful implications "being a lady" leaves on women's psyches in this raw, unapologetic piece.


Shihan's "This Type of Love"

A fave for any fan of this series, or spoken word for that matter, Shihan bares his soul and expresses love in the best way with "This Type of Love".


Georgia Me's "For Your Own Protection"

Georgia Me uses her gift to speak of self-preservation in its purest form: protected sex.


Stacyann Chin's "If Only Out of Vanity"

The legendary Stacyann Chin talks about the importance of legacy (more specifically, hers) in this heartfelt piece.


Dave Chappelle's "F*ck Ashton Kutcher"

Satire takes center stage as the beloved Dave Chappelle remarks on Ashton Kutcher and Alex Trebek in "F*ck Ashton Kutcher".


Erykah Badu's "Friend/Fan/Artist Freestyle"

Our favorite dula talks about the various points-of-view amongst friends, fans and artists. If it sounds familiar, look through your "Aquemini" tracklist (#15).


Sunni Patterson's "We Made It"

In well-versed and impassioned display, Sunni Patterson graphically tells the tale of resilience in "We Made It".


Floetry's "Fantasize"

Floetry romances the audience with a compelling piece of desire and intimacy with "Fantasize".


Daniel Beaty's "Knock, Knock"

Beaty paints a picture of fatherhood as he's known it with the lyrical gem that is "Knock, Knock".