I learned poetry through hip-hop. I didn’t grow up quoting Virgil and Wordsworth, but dipping class and cyphering with my friends, imitating the flow-schemes of Big L and Nas. Standing on the glossy wooden benches of the boy’s locker room, we’d unfold wrinkled sheets of notebook paper with blotted ink squiggled across its pages, jagged handwriting containing our rhymes about the 21st century teenage life. While the content was typically restricted to misogyny and glorifying drug use, my interests in the world around me permeated through the lyrics: “we need less Jihadis and more Mahatma Ghandis”
My punkish angst caught somewhere between the suicidal lyrics of Senses Fail and “N.Y. State of Mind” found body in lyrically tapdancing across rhythmic 808s and YouTube beats humming through my headphones and a portable speaker. It taught me that poetry was above all else, supposed to say something. Pompous emphasis. Elaborate surprises. Express one of two extremes, either the shear meaninglessness of everything or the absolutely undeniable awesomeness of yourself and your life. Mix proving you’re the GOAT with a knack for reckless behavior because “who cares” and you’ll get a taste for the origins of my poetic sentiment.
For a while I stopped rapping. Granted, I had bigger issues than a lack of creativity considering I was blowing lines of heroin four years ago and dealing with a whole lotta spiritual vexation. Yet once I had my house placed back in order by Jesus, and had my entire worldview flipped inside out, I now channel that lingering youthful poetic sentiment into prose and art that reflects a rightly placed pomp on the glory of God.
I love translating abstract academic concepts into narratives, I love singing sounds and phonemes about the world into rhythm, and I love pulling apart the symbolic depictions of our diction.