It’s difficult to discern exactly how “hiphopetry” differs from run-of-the-mill poetry or run-of-the-mill hip-hop. The portmanteau serves as the title of a new collection of free-form verses by Rolando Condry, writings that lack the formal structures of poetry in its most academic sense and the rhyme schemes of the best hip-hop. Instead, Condry writes in a stream-of-consciousness manner, sometimes with what seem to be stanzas, other times in paragraph form.
Condry focuses on a wide variety of subjects, from the meaning of Christianity in modern life to flaws in the contemporary conception of the masculine ideal. He changes format and style many times in the course of the slim volume.
In “Slobs,” for example, Condry laments that modern women too often opt for shady characters, and avers that, “If you had waited 10 more minutes for the right man you wouldn’t be sitting at the table across from that sucka in court.”
In “Ro Condry Presents (a road trip with Jesus),” the author presents a biblical scene in a modern setting, imagining how Jesus would react to a request from Judas for cash. “Bar Scene (exert)” reads like a dramatic excerpt without any resolution or message; “Where’s the Talk Now” is a self-congratulatory note about graduating high school and overcoming obstacles. The collection’s best moments come in poems such as “Blue Beast,” pieces that include visceral imagery from the author’s military service.
Collectively, Condry’s brief vignettes create a dizzying and often disjointed and confusing swirl of ideas and concepts. Apart from isolated tips about the correct ways to express love, the true meaning of spirituality and appreciating life’s blessings, it’s difficult to find any overarching theme or meaning to the collection. Instead, the work reads more like a raw, unedited personal journal. As such, the overall effect is brief and immediate; readers aren’t likely to find any lasting impact or effect from Condry’s patchwork brand of poetry.
Also available as an ebook.