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