On the Front Lines of the War Machine with Tef Poe

Posted By on July 25, 2015 @ 11:23 AM | Album Reviews

In 2011, Mitt Romney announced to the United States that he was uniquely qualified to run for president because of his business background of turning things around. The country was several years removed from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and still facing many obstacles on the road to recovery. Romney saw himself as the right person for the right time to drive American forward. Unfortunately for him, the economy, by and large, operates independently from the executive branch of government, so as well-intentioned as he may have (or may not have) been, he was wrong, or at least misguided, and the economy continued as did the Obama presidency, making Mitt a mere footnote in American election history.

Saint Louis is less than a month away from the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown. For the last half of 2014, Ferguson and the greater Saint Louis area was the epicenter for race relations in our country. Any Saint Louisan should have seen this as no surprise, as our segregated past has crafted a tender truce between the whites and the blacks of our fair city. Each side stuck to their sides and minded their own business, politely nodding in public to one another to acknowledge that things on the surface were at least manageable, so long as we didn’t mingle. And when we mingle, the results are explosively divisive, as our divisions from one another have stripped all hope for empathy and understanding, fueling hatred, ignorance, anger.


Tef Poe is a warrior. A superhero nerd from the bowels that are Pine Lawn, he began as a poet, pulling from his emotions and putting words to paper to express himself in a tough community with a tough life. Call him Teflon Poetic. His life exposed him to the injustices of the non-privileged, driving him to a life of activism well before he would appear on MSNBC. He would canvas for change on the streets of Saint Louis, he would speak and act through Amnesty International, he would organize and protest for a living wage. He was also a rapper, drawing from his poems of the past to actually say something meaningful before it was hip or convenient. The War Machine grew out of Tef, and he now finds himself, like Mitt Romney, being uniquely qualified as the right person for the right time. A man with a track record to support his music and the drive to speak and seek truth, no matter the consequences. I can think of no other rapper in Saint Louis who has seen the cold steel of the city jail more times than the number of mixtape releases (of which he has quite a few). The third iteration of the War Machine isn’t Tef’s best because it has the most refined production or the most powerful bars, “War Machine III” is the best because it is the most relevant to every American in 2015.

The last War Machine came in 2012 with Tef Poe calling himself the black Mitt Romney. Perhaps he was not far off in his analogy, although to not be lost as a footnote to history, we must fight against War Machine in our own lives. Do not accept injustice. Do not turn a blind eye to corruption. Do not fuel the War Machine. The whole damn system is guilty is hell.


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As a videographer, Mike aims to capture the creativity of Saint Louisans and challenge conventional notions of traditional hip-hop culture.

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