The Sunday Poem: Hakim Bellamy & Carlos Contreras... Welcome to the Mineshaft

How did hip-hop stray so far from a life we could celebrate?  So far from our hopes, our dreams, our future?  Ask these guys...Urban Verbs.


Urban Verbs is trying to eradicate the exclusivity of some factions within Hip-Hop culture, and instead shed light on a side of Hip-Hop that is ALL INCLUSIVE.  We are a team of misfits, from all shades of the pallet; Urban Verbs is a living breathing testament to the fact that EVERYTHING can be Hip-Hop – we are all Hip-Hop; when one realizes that each life in this world has a soundtrack, we can stop singing to the sound of differences between one another – and dance together.


 In January of this year, Urban Verbs made its Albuquerque debut to a sold-out house as the opening performance of the Revolutions International Theater Festival. That showing created the opportunity to present an encore performance of Urban Verbs at The Filling Station in Barelas (1024 4th St. SW):

June 17th 7pm Show Urban Verbs + Live Art Creation/Auction & DJ  

June 18th 8pm Show Urban Verbs + Live Keg & Musical Guests BrokenBreadWinner

Tickets and other information is posted here.




Welcome to the mineshaft
Can you hear the bootstrap song birds?
Hearing each other’s blues lets us know we are alive
One of a kind

Even if we can no longer fly
are no longer fly

This culture was never about chains
Not middle passages nor platinum

Before being a way to feed our kids
It was a bloodless and cryptless family

It was the blue collars never popped
It only glorified prison doors being UN-locked

It was a nation with borders we never had to hip-HOP

And rent parties that never got broken up by the cops

We’re the second generation of a social movement that never grew up

The same backpacked chapbooked chaps
found on commandeered corners
down on their luck

But up on their hustle
Cause if the American Dream had a soundtrack
It’d be us two

And the nation of millions that got our back

Most of them,
Products of a nuclear family that’s long been in need of a match

And if you got five on it
(Shrug/beat) We got that

All we ask is that they
stop rhyming for profit,
And prophet

We like hip hop so positive
even Diddy can’t stop it

Dear Hip-Hop
This is a self portrait of your
“To Legit to Quit”

Illegitimate artist

I don’t own anything

Pay interest on things I’m no
Longer interested in pursuing
Ownership of

So life finds me this way

Your regular nine to five
Workin’ Joe
without a collar
To call a color
I work.

Race the night to its beginning
In attempts to pull out some time for myself

Self medicate with these scripts
Between life & life after death

Trying to right
And live life at the same time

While still making the most out of what’s left

And hope to be remembered
Beyond these…

Our Miranda nights to remember

Miranda right to remember
Our suns rise
on the dawn of these lightless nights

A space to breathe
To reach inside and find a melody to things

More confused than beautiful
Less odd and more audible

Because this is all I have
Pocket lint and frustration
40 hours a week and a tired existence

Yet inside these lines I find life
Find that I don’t feel alive
Unless I write

Because I,
Don’t, own, anything
Pay rent on the skin stretched
Over brittle bones
to a system
That barcoded, finger printed,
and archived my mug,

Before it sent me home
I don’t own anything

These things own me

Car note after car note
Nothing but post-it notes on the vanity of my life

Obscuring my reflection
Littering my bed spread
Notes that lack the poetry I am.

A minimalist interpretation of me

Just what I owe
And what I’ve paid

Not the totality
of what I’ve made along the way

Just artifacts of extinction in this dinosaur existence

Dirty records of past times,
But not really
what I want to be remembered for or by,
Not really how I passed time

My past time is records
Dusty fingerprints

Cold case anthropologists of wax
Hip hop apologists of wackness

Sorry for things I can’t help
but help me

I don’t own anything in its entirety
Just shares of you and parts of me

Fragmented and shattered
Partially reflected in forty ounce fossils
And the bottom of happy hour glasses,

And without this passion,
I’d be as miserable as my boss!

Wishing he had followed the hair band dreams of the 80s
Instead of letting Reaganomics
scare him into this dead end job

But me?

I flip these burgers
which could have easily been bricks

Headphones pumping the Gospel of Blackstar and the Apostle Common

Knowing we won’t be here long
Cause carbon copies
are no place for stars

We combust into these songs

That navigate the night of our minds
And even if we don’t own the sky

We connect those dots
when we take time
to create lines

Even though
the “real world”
has shared custody
of our lives

Our culture is always there for us
to plug back into
Always there when we need her

A shoulder to cry or lean on
A belief system
A theme song

A smoke break
The tape you rocked
the day you got your license
and the keys to the car

My 1 year old son
with minimal english
but in the back seat?
He already nods his head
and articulately sings along
to the symphony

of CDs on

Repeat after me

You’re a wondrous conction
Of kick drums and heart string
Strung beats,

My north star
When no star felt like
Definining itself within me…

Contrary to popular belief
Hip Hop, you had me at “Peace”
Have me at peace

And are part of all
of these pieces of me

I am

, see(H)

“Yo, I got this new piece!”

His dance piece
Her graff piece

“The DJ’s favorite piece of furniture?”
The turntable

The dance floor
Or the mic.

You’re are part of my culture
like DNA
Like trying to separate
Black people from braids
Brown people from
Green Chile..

Hip Hop,
you are part of me
End quote

And here,
are those pieces


--Hakim Bellamy and Carlos Contreras



Poetry submissions are encouraged.  Email

Views: 94

Comment by Dee Cohen on June 12, 2011 at 4:05pm

Hi Hakim & Carlos,

Great movement in this piece. I'm sure it's even better out loud.

I feel my factions fading... so it must be working.

Best of luck with your upcoming performances. Dee

Comment by Rey Garduño on June 15, 2011 at 9:39pm

Hakim and Carlos:

Keep keeping us alive. Rey...

Comment by Hakim Bellamy on June 16, 2011 at 8:17am
Thank you all for your love and support... (promo vid)


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