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

Categories: Literature

jay vollmar rap illo.jpg
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 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.

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