Dennis Kim, a.k.a. Denizen Kane
Dennis Kim is a favorite son of Chicago, but spent his youth in New York and Atlanta as well. Kim's early public performances coincided with (and stoked) the pre-millennium rise of a slam/alternative spoken word culture at Chicago's Mental Graffiti poetry series, then convened weekly at the Mad Bar. Kim clinched a spot on the National Slam team for Mental Graffiti in 1999. Shortly thereafter, he co-founded the performance group I Was Born with Two Tongues. Fellow members of Two Tongues include Marlon Esguerra, Anida Yoeu Esguerra, and Emily Chang.
In 2000, Kim co-founded Typical Cats, a hiphop collective that issued two CDs, one eponymously titled and a second called "Civil Service". These were followed by "Tree City Legends" volumes 1 and 2 (2002 and 2005 respectively, released by Galapagos 4), discs that focussed more on Kim as solo performer, and wherein he was able to expand and innovate with his distinct lyrical style. Kim also appears in the CD anthology 7 Years of APAture, with fellow Asian Pacific American artists.
Dennis Kim's career has made him visible to audiences in Japan, America, and Europe. He has appeared on at least three seasons of HBO Def Poetry, and he continues to tour and workshop. While hiphop is central to Kim's aesthetic, he does not choose to differentiate too strongly between hiphip and more generic spoken word and performance poetry. All his work in these areas comes from a common inspiration, according to the artist. In 2002, he settled in the San Francisco Bay area, a move that allowed him to clarify his future artistic direction while taking stock of his performance poetry heritage from Chicago. Listening to Kim, one can feel a poignancy of age, even though one is conscious of the artist's youth. Dennis Kim is clearly connected to experiences far more transcendant than his immediate space and time.
- December 2006