Hip-hop 101: Preview the poetry of Jalon Martin, Adam Bradley's Montbello rap student

Hip-hop 101: Preview the poetry of Jalon Martin, Adam Bradley's Montbello rap student
Anthony Camera

This week's cover story, "Hip-hop 101," describes a new venture by CU-Boulder English Professor and Anthology of Rap co-editor Adam Bradley: A "Hip-Hop in the Classroom" program based at Montbello High School, the far northeast Denver school in the midst of a drastic turnaround plan. The story focuses on one student in particular: Montbello junior Jalon Marin, a budding poet who English teacher Alison Corbett says could gain the most from Bradley's rap academics. So what has Martin learned? Read the 16-year-old's poems below.

See also:

- Hip-hop 101: Adam Bradley is revolutionizing rap at a time

- "The Field": An ode to America's obsession with criminals, sports and commercials

- Jake Adam York: Rest in peace...and poetry

My Life

I understand who I am, but do you?

Society has labeled me as a criminal

But in reality I'm just like you

Can you see past the skin color, can you see past the

Ignorant stereotypes, and the stories that they have told?

Unwanted because I am bold

I'm only 16 years old

But they never see me, they see clearly through me

They don't believe in the man I am becoming

But persecute the man that I am colored

No wonder why in this world I am just a number

My mother told me that there was only one me and no other

No father in my life, so my father is my mother

But who is there to blame

Because we play a part in this stereotypical game

That all black people are the same

That all we do is play ball, blow trees,

Get pregnant and gangbang

Man I'm sick and tired of dong the same things

My mind is a weapon

But I'm protected by this 12-gauge

I'm engraved with rage that has put my mind in an ill state

I have so much faith, but constantly I feel pain

My body is filled with rage

And my heart is nothing but cold hate

All that warm love left my body

The day my brother became an inmate

I intake the pain

Sacrificing my childish ways

Cleared my mind, to create space

For thoughts of the insane

The pain I create with the choices I make.

Continue reading for more poems.

Jalon Martin.
Jalon Martin.
Anthony Camera


Why are Hispanics and African Americans called minorities?

Why are we portrayed as a word that means less than something else?

It was our cultures that contributed to the development

Of American society today. But we still remain a minority

I am a minority

But don't judge me by my appearance

Judge me by my knowledge

Don't judge me by my strength, but by my strength in words

Don't judge me by my past, but by my dreams

A minority is president

But people still can't accept and

Believe the true potential of minorities

I am called an African American

So why do I feel that I have to walk, talk

And think white to be accepted by America

At times I get convinced that in this society

I am just a percentage

A percentage that is expected not to go to college

A percentage that is expected to be locked up

Why does America get to decide who I become, who I am?

Am I a man who is meant for less, or destined for more?

Am I a man who needs to be changed, or brings the change?

You see my mind has been conditioned by this public school system

That with the right education, you can be anything

So why am I constantly portrayed as nothing

Now thanks to the American government

They got these Hispanics hiding and running

Breaking up all these families and they don't even do nothing

Just because they are who they are

They can be asked for their green cards

And then put them behind bars, and if you don't think that's wrong

You're inane

And maybe your mind is crazed, because if you think about it

Hispanics and blacks make up most of America's population today

Every race in this country has broken some type of law

But when a Hispanic or black does it

These judges and cops get to jumping off the walls

Just ready to put one in us

It don't really matter if we're living

It's a burden to bear, and people have lives to continue living

It's sad and thoughtless how minority deaths

Are way too common

We stay ready to kill each other

Over a 'hood or a color

We are all seen the same way

So why have we built a war with one another

In reality the real war is with these

Silly governmental people

Honestly we can fight this evil

The same way Mr. King and Chaves did

Then these stereotypical chains will turn to loving relief

And we'll start breaking away for change

Understanding our labeled name

And if we do this together

A minority we'll never be called again


I haven't been called an American

And in this civilization

I'll accept I'll never be one

I just hope America

Recognizes a real honest man

When they see one.

Continue reading for more poems.

Adam Bradley.
Adam Bradley.

Make It

I just want to make it.

All of this drama surrounding me

I don't know if I can take it

Give me your heart, baby and I promise that I won't break it

And all you superficial girls, way better completely naked

Excuse the language, the words that I have spoken

Are filled with so much emotion,

And created by the choices that I have chosen

I am a great man, society fails to notice

And I don't have a bad temper, I was just born to be ferocious

Mind of a killer, actions of a lover

No thought of having no father, all I need is my mother

Raised by my brothers, the pain that I have suffered

I cherish life day to day

Because it's never promises there will be another

I worship silence because your mouth can get you in trouble

Speak the truth, or don't speak at all

I don't get involved

With lowlifes

They don't got no life, so they decide to waste it

I wonder if I could have saved him

Inflamed we hate

I felt the pain

When he passed away

So I cleared my mind, built my pride

And was forced to open my eyes

On the road to riches

But society slashed my tires

I've been dedicated and meditated on medication

Hearts are racing

And bullets flying and cops are chasing

The law has done me wrong

So I ain't friendly to badges and white faces

The world, I understand now

I'm a man now

I don't need no hand-outs.

16 and having visions of the victory

My future is a mystery

My mind is filled with misery

I keep crying out to God but I think he's having trouble hearing me

(hand in air)

I pray to God that he destroys all this fear in me

Or who I fear to be

They say my future is looking bright

But when I look I see the streets

It's impossible to believe that we will ever have peace


In a world that was built on greed

My pride fits my needs

I will strive till I bleed

My position at the top is almost guaranteed


I'ma make it.

For more on the program, visit this week's cover story.

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