This is an excerpt from a Conversations Magazine Interview that I did earlier in 2006.
This is an interview you will find no where else. Tyree Barnette gives CONVERSATIONS an exclusive interview into his life as a poet and where the passion for words come from.
Do you feel as though spoken word will ever gain in popularity the way hip hop has?
I think that can definitely happen when the culture of hip hop changes. Right now, hot beats, a nice hook, and image sells. I mean how long does it take to pen a song called “Laffy Taffy”?
I think once fans put more emphasis on the lyrics and the message in the songs like how when hip hop first got big, they’ll turn to poets for their lyrical skills. That’s really all hip hop is; most of those cats that are rappers started writing poetry in some form or another. So yeah, I think as songs like “Laffy Taffy” get boring, fans will want something deeper and more meaningful. Then poets will push the big CD and download sales.
Your book "Temple of the Spoken Word" is now available. Tell us about it.
It’s like a dream come true of mine. It’s a labor of love available right now through lulu.com. You can go to www.lulu.com/tyree and check out the book.
The material in it is like an introduction. It also has a central theme I found from the first black filmmaker in America: a man named Oscar Micheaux. The theme is “Learn from, then teach the masses”. Not only am I expressing common feelings with my poetry such as the pursuit of love, peace, and happiness, but I’m also using the book as a vehicle to get my thoughts out there.
It’s called “Temple of the Spoken Word” because for me poetry is like a secondary church. It’s how I worship. There’s four unique “temples” or sections in my book. This first book of mine is a real tribute to the elements that go into my poetry: my religion, hip hop, and the current events I see going on in today’s world. You’ll see the influence of the music in my writing: there are plenty of simple rhyme schemes, wordplay, a little bragging, and what not. I had a lot of fun writing the book, I mean, it was a decade in the making. There’s a message in there for everyone. I think that anyone who buys it will find that special poem or two or three that really speaks to them. I’m brutally honest and some of my writing may be controversial. I also hope it gets them thinking about their surroundings and the world around them.