Volume 3 of Hip Hop Poetry

There is this unspoken pressure to use a website or weblog to do what other weblogs do. This seems contradictory to the purpose of using a new format to do versatile things. Recently, I have heard claims about this here being too esoteric to be effective. I’m willing to wager, however, that if I continue to create a new standard for creative journalism, essays and expression that it will expand what people think of hip-hop writers. Lil Wayne says “if hip-hop is dead, I am the embalming fluid” because there is nothing to be said for preservation without innovation. Even so, I am going to concede that a weblog can only be great if it captures attention of some slice of the population. The slice I’m looking for? Anyone who enjoys good diverse writing on cultural theory.

A friend of mine subtly joked that creating this genre “hip-hop poetry” was a nod to trends, and that maybe my inner need to be an emcee was coming out through some saccharine, soon-to-be forgotten poems. But when Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown wrote their jazz poems, it was not because they wanted to be jazz musicians. They lived in a neighborhood and in an era where jazz was a reality beyond its musical confines, much like hip-hop reaches past music and notes to things like advertising, clothing, and dancing. When I write, I am writing from the hip-hop perspective. I also write from the reggae perspective but being a Brooklyn citizen for 20-plus years seats me in the middle of a hip-hop existence. At its nascence, hip-hop is my older sibling. It gives me advice on how to live, how to listen, how to express. The “flow” of hip-hop, the rhythmic wording of the songs, is the best way my generation has learned to experiment with verbal patterns. Shakespeare is iambic with his. Jay-Z is “Dead Presidents” with his. One speaks to our souls more than the other does. This poetry is not written just to be expressed aloud, nor would it be complete if it were not considered as aurally-charged work. The sounds and the flow of this poetry makes it relevant to me just as I’m sure sound and flow have always been pertinent to Black writers.

Treat Her Like a Lady

What nose
How lips, round hips
Flush with a blush rose
I struck gold but bodes
like a stroke of luck
After the muck shoals
For you I had a
month old dutch rolled
I imagine the dust drove me
to untold phantasm
You shoulda chose to rebuff those advances
no running once you had stolen the
replaced it with human
lush tones
Could be my soul’s in a rut
whether lust grows or I
Don’t give a fuck
Ride it off into sunset
Unnatural nadir, hopeful
we’re young and get
back to it later
But it’s fated like it’s faded
Our cotton: soft and worn
We’ll stop and give pause to mourn
Love and marriage; drugs and ballads
Garishly tossing the gloves
Disparage what was…
To some new stranger
Few drain true anger
much rather damage the tub

It’s a war game, a clever ruse
so we cork pain we never lose
in a coarse vein we force hate
to settle


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