[Poets Kevin Coval and Nate Marshall, co-editors along with Quraysh Ali Lansana of the powerful recent poetry anthology The BreakBeat Poets, recently sat down with hip-hop personality and SOHH correspondent Shawn Setaro on his popular "The Cipher” podcast. Listen to the full interview and check out five gems the Chicago poets dropped during the Q&A.]

On first hearing fellow poet Idris Goodwin use the phrase “breakbeat poets” in a conversation:

Kevin Coval: “Me becoming an educator was also very much about me finding my people. So when Idris said that, it felt like it was a unifying moment for both the aesthetics and the cultural moment, and an assessment of who was practicing in the community. It just felt very right.”

On the subject matter of the poems in the anthology:

Nate Marshall: “Many of the questions that the poems, and that hip-hop, really wrestles with are contemporary questions that have been in the public consciousness for the better part of the last four or five decades. When we talk about who has a right to the city, how drugs are moving through communities, and how the legal response to drugs is moving through communities  – those are the questions that the poems take up, and they’re the questions of the genre.”

On Kanye West:

Kevin Coval: “Ye is very much a contemporary artist, where he’s not concerned with the myth of origination, but is open to collective thought being out there. His name is on stuff, but also, you see in the Grammy nod [f[for "All Day,” with its nineteen credited songwriters]he’s giving due respect.”

On hip-hop being “hyper-local”:

Nate Marshall: “At that first moment of people beginning to create rhymes, you’re not trying to be the most famous cat in the world. It’s not a pop song in the sense that you want to write something that is broad and expansive and global. You’re like, we’re on Flatbush right now. Whenever you see hip-hop stories told, you see the moment at which language expands because of that focus on the local.”

On the differences between the poets in the anthology:

Kevin Coval: “I feel like there is a difference between folks who were writing prior to Pac and Big being killed, and after. And I wonder if it’s just a shift in the culture itself, in part because I think what happened in that period from Dre’s The Chronic to the death of Biggie is that it really cemented hip-hop’s foray into the transition between counter- and sub- to popular culture. And then that era afterwards, it really is where hip-hop is so prevalent that you could throw a stone at a strip mall and hit a rapper. But in the era prior to that, it really was a culture you had to leave your home to participate in. In order to even say anything or to write anything, you probably needed to be physically enmeshed in some cultural space. And now it’s just a little different.”