Otis Mensah is a writer and performing artist with an alternative take on Hip-Hop music and abstract poetry. Focusing on art as a means of documenting journeys of introspection, Otis’ work aims to demonstrate the personal and political power of vulnerable expression. Otis takes influence from the rhythmic and expressive freedom of Jazz and uses aesthetic language as an instrument to solo through themes of identity, existence and coming-of-age.

Building on earlier work and his tenure as Sheffield’s first Poet Laureate,Otis continues to release music independently with his lockdown project #OtisMensahExists, a series of new songs and animations exploring existential angst in the digital age.The first song from the project Breath Of Life was premiered on Worldwide FM and features Samuel T. HerringofFutureIslands, followed by The Thinks making appearances on Band camp Weekly and BBC Radio 6 Music.

Throughout his career, Otis has performed atGlastonbury Music Festival,We Out Here Festival and Shambala Festival as well as opening for the likes ofBenjamin Zephaniah, Arrested Development,The Sugarhill Gang,Wu-Tang Clan affiliate Killah Priest, Mahalia, Lowkey, Open Mike Eagle, Chali 2naand toured with the likes ofKOTA the Friend and experimental Jazz-Rap legendsBlu & Exile.

Otis uses his voice in the same way that Ornette Coleman uses a Saxophone, in that there is rhythm and melody present, but it is so sporadic as his ability to flip flows and alter cadences runs parallel to the dismantling nature of Free Jazz. He changes speed and pitch, conveys emotion in every word, all whilst making it look easy.

Otis Mensah’s ability to hold a crowd in the palm of his hand by rapping in a way which is so poetic and peaceful whilst articulating stories of internal and external struggle is inspired.

Otis Mensah continues to cement his place as a formidable voice in the world of poetry and hip-hop.

Otis Mensah is arguably the most productive rap-poet working under lockdown right now. Otis’ sound is a distinct one, with an unbridled stream of consciousness over low-pressure beats; he describes it as a sub-genre of alternative hip hop, namely: “Art-Rap”.