Mic Check: Where Poetry and Rap Meet Hand-In-Hand
By Just John
Just like a lot of other poets, I started off writing love notes about my feelings because I was never good at expressing them in person. I would write to my significant other and give the note in an envelope or a notebook for her to read. Flash-forward to my senior year at Miramar High School, I was in lunch free styling and rapping to my friends. Our poetry team sponsor Mrs. Clarington discovered me and asked me to come out to an event called the Poetry & Leadership Conference (PLC) hosted by the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network of the Jason Taylor Foundation.
As an athlete at the school, I felt obligated to keep up my macho façade and not join a poetry team, so I hid from Clarington for weeks. Finally, stopping by her office to say hello I overheard my friend, Alexander Crowley, rapping a piece to a group of students. I immediately felt my competitive nature kick in and shared a rap piece of my own. We ended up both becoming close friends and joining the club the “Miramar Truth Spittahz.”
[image src=”https://jasontaylorfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Secondary.Image_.Mic_.Check_.News_.Alexander.Crowley.1200×600.png” shape=”img-rounded”] [image src=”https://jasontaylorfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Secondary.Image_.Mic_.Check_.News_.Just_.John_.1200×600.png” shape=”img-rounded”]
The PLC opened up my eyes to how similar rap is to poetry and I instantly fell in love with the artistic expression. I noticed how combining words and cadence with delivery on stage engages an audience. I began to realize that poetry is deeper than just “roses are red and violets are blue.” I’ve been a part of bluapple ever since, winning the inaugural Louder Than a Bomb Florida (LTABFLA) team poetry competition in 2015. I now serve as both Program Assistant and Teaching Artist for the organization.
Here, I’ve been able to share my story and give a platform to creatives just like me to express themselves and develop their identity in the arts. I believe rap and poetry go hand in hand and here are three reasons why:
- Both art forms elicit empathic feelings after one hears someone else’s story
- Both the rapper and the poet can redefine the familiar simply by presenting a creative and artistic arrangement of words
- Both provide the power of having a voice and expressing yourself through art
Coming from both worlds, I know how one can develop the other. Wale did this for me with the way his poetic pace flowed through my ear buds on a beat. Or J. Cole, who always leaves you with a story and a message to receive, filling you up like soul food after a verse.
[image src=”https://jasontaylorfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Secondary.Image_.Mic_.Check_.News_.Writing.1200×600.png” shape=”img-rounded”] [image src=”https://jasontaylorfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Secondary.Image_.Mic_.Check_.News_.Music_.1200×600.png” shape=”img-rounded”]
For these reasons and so many more, we have created Mic Check, a workshop series catered to the emcee; the lyricist; the rapper. In this space, we generate an atmosphere where both the rapper and the poet can co-exist in the same place at the same time, glorifying the art in the same fashion. The workshops feature music, writing techniques and stage ways to enhance stage performance.
Mic Check takes place Thursdays during the summer from 1-3pm at Ultimate studio blu in Weston. For more information on Mic Check PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Ultimate studio blu
1575 N. Park Drive
Weston, FL 33326