For the last five years, actor, Omari Hardwick has kept TV viewers entranced with his character Ghost on the Starz crime drama Power. With season 6 slated for a summer return, Hardwick is looking to branch outside his field with his latest endeavor. On Wednesday (March 13), he exclusively announces with Billboard his new hip-hop/spoken word podcast titled Poetics.
Set to debut on the Luminary Network, for season 1, Hardwick will be in the driver’s seat, interviewing a bevy of hip-hop acts. In addition to doing deep dives about their adoration for hip-hop, he’ll also test his guests’ spoken-word abilities. To kick off each episode, Hardwick will require stars to dish out a pre-written poem before conducting a sit-down interview with them.
“I’m asking rappers to come in and sit down and recite a poem,” Hardwick tells Billboard. “Lose the machismo. Poetry has a vulnerability that rap and MC’ing doesn’t. You gotta be vulnerable. That kind of takes it to another level and gives [artists] a different look.”
Hardwick, a poet himself, along with his team of co-creators, are confident in their abilities to find a niche in what has become an overly competitive podcast world.
“Poetics brings to its audience an experience that calls back to the cinematic vibe,” says co-creator and executive producer Alex Nagel. “Omari encourages guests to go deep, and we enhance that storytelling with a dope soundscape. It’s not like an interview that you hear on a lot of podcasts.”
“By being a poet in a rapper’s world, [Omari] created a vibe that made the artists comfortable enough to get vulnerable when they sit down for a session of Poetics,” echoes co-creator and executive producer Elliot O’Dea.
Armed with a sharp tongue and immeasurable wit — as displayed in his 2017 poem “Little Black Boy Wonder” — Hardwick’s passage into the podcast world will be smoothed out by his vast array of guests, including Wyclef Jean, Dave East, Big Daddy Kane, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and more. When asked whose spoken-word abilities surprised him the most, Hardwick paid homage to Brooklyn’s hard-nosed MC Casanova.
“Casanova’s been the most impressive to me,” says Hardwick. “He just started rapping three years ago. He was locked up, and he was in solitary confinement for a multitude of years. You could say a lot of people find their pen in jail, a lot do, but he’s been the most impressive to me because when I asked him if he found his pen in jail, he said, ‘No. I never found a pen in jail. I found it after that.’ And the story that he has to tell, it could be of one complexion. It could look like some of your darker characters from Power.”
Watch the trailer for Poetics below. It will debut May 2 via the Luminary Network.