photo: Stacy White

This past weekend we had our friend and fellow artist Poems in town for a visit. He and my husband (Dust) spent time together this summer collaborating on and recording an album Dirty Words as well as filming a video for their first single (check out the video at the Dirty Words link as well). We spent some time catching up.

Your name alludes to the fact that you are a poet. Is that how you started out before joining the LA Symphony crew in the late 90’s? Yes, I started out writing poetry when I was 11 and my grandmother found my stuff and let me know I was writing poetry. She took custody of me at age 11 and had found my notepad I had been writing my thoughts in. Most of it rhymed and I hadn’t paid attention to it.

From that I moved into (popping) and vibe dancing. It was started by Ozone’s son (from Breakin’). He actually started the whole vibe dancing style and it spread thru LA like wildfire. Groups like Black Eyed Peas and Jungle Brothers, Scoob and Scrap Lover, all of that was considered vibe dancing. Thru that I met Trendi who was an original member of LA Symphony. He was always into rapping and I wasnt really into it. A friend of mine had a birthday party and we were all freestyling. Trendi heard the tape of the battle and asked me how long I’d been rapping. I told him I was just messing around and he said I needed to start rapping. We started a group with J Beats called Halieyoos Fishermen in 94, started doing shows, and LA Symphony grew from there.

How has it been recording as a solo artist? It’s funny, this is my third project so Ive gotten used to it, but the stress of it is having to write a lot more verses. And if the song sucks there is no one to blame but you. Recording becomes very tiresome because your doing a hook and three verses as opposed to a 4 or 8 bar verse and leave the studio.

What drives you or inspires you as an artist? Drive? Poverty. I dont want to ever be in that place. No plan B. The inspiration would just be life in general. I try to be a realist and write about what I know and what I see and what I experience. So I have to get it out somehow. It helps, it is therapeutic. It’s what kept me from going insane as a child. As an only child I was either writing or playing video games.

What kind of places do you like to play in LA? My favorite place in LA is probably the Temple Bar. Ive always liked it because I like their set up and they have a great sound guy. I like the Knitting Factory. It doesnt matter what room you’re in, the sound is pretty good. And other than that almost anywhere that they will have me.

What are you currently listening to?Right now Common’s new album Finding Forever, Talib Qweli’s Eardrum, Pharoahe Monch’s Desire, and Audio Slave’s first record, all three Coldplay albums I listen to regularly. Those three albums are masterpieces. RJD2, Madlib: Shades of Blue. Poets of Rhythm and Honeycut. Honeycut is probably my favorite album right now.