Beats & Rhymes: Density in the Heart of the Inner City

"Density," is a poem inspired by Urban Planning Classes at UCLA during my undergraduate years. I enjoyed classes I took with Mike Davis and Professor Brian Taylor in the mid-90s. The vocabulary of Urban Studies and architecture excited me. My studies began to overlap with my poetry. After graduating I continued to explore Los Angeles nonstop. I drove around specific neighborhoods like the Rampart, West Adams and Koreatown. Frequently I rode public transportation with my close comrade Phillip Martin, aka PhiLLHarmonic. We made it a daily ritual to find poetry in the streets.

Phill rhymes on the last verse of "Density" and gives a shout out to the man who produced the track, DJ Dave aka David Wittman. DJ Dave is like Pete Rock, an amazing producer that rhymes with great skill, but he doesn't rhyme as much as he produces. The three of us attended UCLA together and spent a lot of time listening to music, travelling around the city to see live music and eventually performing our own music. Dave recently has made several video-songs, most notably, "Whole Foods Parking Lot." The three of us all lived together at different points and still collaborate two decades after we met.

Here's to artistic friendships and longevity. Bringing you back in the dense mosaic.

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Mike Sonksen aka Mike the Poet is a spoken word artist, tour guide, educator, journalist, and historian. L.A. Letters celebrates bright moments from literary Los Angeles with spoken and written word. See his Departures StoryShare videos here and here. Keep up with his activities by following his tumblr and Youtube channel.

Top: Photo by manmadepants, 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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