George the Poet

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George the Poet
Birth nameGeorge Mpanga
Born (1991-01-14) 14 January 1991 (age 28)[1]
Neasden, London
Years active2006–present

George Mpanga (born 14 January 1991), better known by his stage name George the Poet, is a British spoken-word artist with an interest in social and political issues.[2][3] Mpanga's podcast, entitled Have You Heard George's Podcast? swept the boards at the 2019 British Podcast Awards, winning five awards in total.[4]

Life and career[edit]

Mpanga was born to Ugandan parents on the St Raphael's Estate in Neasden, north-west London and began performing rap and grime when he was 15 years old.[1] He attended Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet, an elite selective grammar school, during 2002-2009.[5] He subsequently studied Politics, Psychology and Sociology at King's College, Cambridge (2010-2013),[6] where he decided to adapt his rap output into poetry to communicate more effectively with his audience.[7] Mpanga said, "I think rappers are primarily expected to make money for the industry and provide party soundtracks, but obviously there are exceptions and grey areas. The poet’s 'role' is usually to provide thoughtful social commentary."[8]

During his studies, Mpanga won a social enterprise competition organised by Barclays and Channel 4 called The Stake, which asked entrants how they would spend £100,000. He used his £16,000 prize to fund The Jubilee Line, a series of secondary school poetry workshops for underprivileged children in London.[2][9] In May 2012, he premiered the piece "My City", about his hometown London.[10] Subsequently, BBC Radio 1 selected him as the face of their Hackney Weekend (in June 2012),[1] and Sky Sports F1 commissioned him to write poems for their coverage of the 2012 Formula One season and the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix.[7][11] In July 2014, the consumer watchdog group Which? released the track "It's Yours", a collaboration between Mpanga and producer Jakwob, as part of a campaign lobbying the UK Government to improve their response to complaints about public services.[12] "My City" was adapted as a music collaboration with dance producers Bodhi, and released as a single in August 2014.[13] In October 2014, Mpanga released the EP The Chicken and the Egg and the single "1,2,1,2" (once again with Bodhi), describing the former release as "about premature parenthood. Through the story of a rocky relationship, it outlines the cycle of fatherlessness in seven tracks.”[14] Vice magazine wrote that the EP "showcases perhaps the tightest lyricism of the year to date".[15]

In November 2014, it was announced that Mpanga had been shortlisted for the Critics' Choice category at the 2015 BRIT Awards.[16] He came fifth in the BBC Sound of 2015 poll.[17] As of late 2014, Mpanga was writing a debut album and working on theatre and film projects.[18] He released the single "Cat D" in February 2015.[19] His first collection of poetry in book form, 'Search Party', was published by Virgin Books in 2015.[20]

In March 2018 it was announced that Mpanga had been elected as a Member of the National Council of Arts Council England.[21]


Mpanga's influences include rappers Nas, Dizzee Rascal, and Tupac Shakur, and poets including Maya Angelou, Black Ice, and George Watsky.[17][18][22]



  • The Chicken and the Egg (2014)


  • "It's Yours" (2014)
  • "My City" (2014)
  • "1,2,1,2" (2014)
  • "Cat D" (2015)
  • "Wotless" (2015)
  • "Search Party" (2015)
  • "Search Party 2" (2015)
  • "What Do You Reckon?" (2016)
  • "Wake Up" (2016)
  • "Follow the Leader" (2018)

Guest appearances and collaborations[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Organisation Award Result
2015 BRIT Awards Critics' Choice[23] Nominated
MTV Brand New for 2015[24] Nominated
BBC Sound of 2015[25] Fifth


  1. ^ a b c Dionne Grant (22 January 2013). "George The Poet: By Royal Appointment". The Voice. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Rare Rising Stars 2012". Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  3. ^ Ian Youngs (1 December 2014). "BBC Sound Of 2015: George the Poet interview". BBC News. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "A very happy new year for George the Poet".
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Kate Mossman (3 February 2013). "George the Poet: 'Rappers have so much power to do good and they squander it'". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  8. ^ Raymond Antrobus (17 October 2012). "Q&A With George The Poet". Shapes And Disfigurements Of Raymond Antrobus. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  9. ^ Rebecca Diamond. "Interview: George the Poet". The Tab Cambridge. Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  10. ^ Sam Parker (1 June 2012). "George The Poet's 'My City' Reminds Us There Is More To London Than The Jubilee (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  11. ^ "George The Poet delivers Monaco Grand Prix inspired poem over James Blake's "Retrograde" [Video]". SoulCulture. 28 May 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  12. ^ Coral Williamson (16 July 2014). "Which? partners with Jakwob and George The Poet for Government campaign". Music Week. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Bodhi VS George The Poet – My City". #5 Magazine. Archived from the original on 6 December 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  14. ^ "George The Poet – 'The Chicken and the Egg' EP – SB.TV – The UK's leading online youth broadcaster". Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  15. ^ Luke Morgan Britton (24 September 2014). "PREMIERE: Listen to George The Poet's Latest EP". Noisey. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  16. ^ Nesta McGregor (27 November 2014). "Brits announce 2015 Critics' Choice shortlist". BBC Newsbeat. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  17. ^ a b 5. George The Poet, BBC Music - BBC Music Sound Of, 2015.
  18. ^ a b Hannah Ellis-Petersen, "‘I’m from a community that doesn’t often get to represent themselves’", The Guardian, 14 December 2014.
  19. ^ News | Clash Magazine
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Introducing our new National Council Members | Arts Council England". Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  22. ^ "George the Poet on protesting with poetry", The Guardian, 11 April 2015.
  23. ^ "Critic's Choice Winner Announced". Brit Awards. 4 December 2014.
  24. ^ "Krept & Konan Crowned MTV Brand New For 2015 Winners!". MTV. 2 February 2015.
  25. ^ "BBC Music Sound Of 2015 longlist revealed". BBC. 1 December 2014.

External links[edit]