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Beats And Rhymes: Rapsody

"Rapsody" is another hypnotic beat produced by David Wittman aka DJ Dave. I am joined on the piece by my longtime colleague Phillip Martin aka PhiLLHArmonic. The piece dates back to when PhiLL and I first began performing poetry in our final UCLA years. We read stacks of books, took endless drives all around L.A. to sites like Elysian Park and we wrote poems nonstop.
 
After self-publishing our first poetry books in 1998, we started throwing spoken word sessions in basements, performing guerilla poetry on street corners, hosting art shows citywide, and building momentum into the new millennium. Essentially this piece is an upbeat track about wood shedding and hitting the city. "The jazz is loud in the nocturnal now."

Inspired equally by Bob Kaufman, Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, James Baldwin, Federico Garcia Lorca, Joan Didion, Carey McWilliams, underground hip hop and bebop jazz we slowly yet organically began to build with like-minded artists across the city in areas like Echo Park, West Adams, and Venice. 
 

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Artists like BlackBird, Besskepp, DJ Jeremy Sole, Mear One, DJ Dusk, Stricke9, the Poets of the RoundTable, Breakestra, Dakah, Ordell Cordova, Mochilla, Marcus Gray, Megan Jacobs, Sarah Cruse, Hollywood 7, Nickie Black from the Venice Mozaic and countless others. 
 
I am thankful for each of these dynamic artists; their efforts have inspired me to catalog the art, music and poetry of our city. "Rapsody" celebrates the creative process and these illustrious artists. The creative spirit covered in this piece continues to this day. Our peers mentioned above continue to flourish in their artistry and PhiLL is having a major art show in San Francisco on July 18. Salute to all parties involved, there's much more to come. 


We're south of the Tehachapi,
more powerful than a catastrophe
with echo activity that happens to be,
more bohemian than rapsody.

 

Top: Los Angeles at Night. Photo: Jennifer Gaillard/flickr/Creative Commons

About the Author

Third-generation Angeleno Mike "The Poet" Sonksen is a poet, journalist, historian, tour guide, and teacher.
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