Spoken Word Artist Pedro el Poeta Opening for Cypress Hill
The performance is on Friday night at The Cuban Club in Ybor City.
He's a political refugee from Nicaragua who used his love of word play to make a name for himself when he burst into Tampa Bay's spoken word scene a decade ago.
Now, Pedro el Poeta - Spanish for "the poet" - is continuing his quest to turn a hobby of reciting or ad libbing poetry over original beats into a profession.
On Friday, Nov. 16, the 29-year-old will open for hip hop group Cypress Hill at The Cuban Club in Ybor City.
The married stay-at-home-dad, who lives in St. Petersburg, is hoping to keep poetry alive in hip hop, a culture sometimes known for its adoration of mysogyny and materialism.
"My focal point in doing what I do is getting the focus back on the words and the soul of what hip hop should be," he said.
We talked to Pedro el Poeta recently about how he got his start and what his work says about him.
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On how he got involved in spoken word: When I started writing poetry, I was math and science inclined in school. I remember in ninth grade, because I didn’t do my homework, I was passing on test scores but had a 0 in homework. My teacher said I was a waste of a brain.
I got mad at my math teacher. A few days later, I wrote a girl I liked a poem. I started becoming the school poet, doing assemblies at my school. I always did the poetry thing, but I had never heard of spoken word, which is performance poetry. In college, I took "Rhythms of the Spoken Word." I was asked to be a part of the Tampa Bay slam team. I veered into my natural passion of hip hop.
On what his poetry says about him: I think a lot of it speaks to the struggle, overcoming, enjoying life and not taking things for granted. It's supposed to be fun, entertaining, hopefully inspiring and educational at the same time.
Advice for aspiring poets: To just keep going. I think you can only aspire until you realize you're there. Mentally, you have to be there in order to get there. I've seen a lot of people in the spoken word scene who get turned off.
Tell us about Friday's show at The Cuban Club: Cypress Hill is doing a show there, and we got selected to be the opening act. I am excited, since I grew up listening to their music. It's gonna be super fun.
The night before that on the underside of the Gandy bridge at Dave's Aqua Lounge (10820 Gandy Boulevard), we'll be selling tickets and doing performances.
Reach Pedro el Poeta at http://pedroelpoeta.com/fr_home.cfm.