A to Z – Beatboxing

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Over the next couple months here on SteadyBloggin, I’ve decided to choose an underappreciated topic for each letter A-through-Z, and explain why it should be deserving of your attention.  Because there are so many reasons to listen to rap, and unfortunately some of them go unnoticed.

B is for Beatboxing.

Remember when you played on your high school basketball team?  Remember before, and after the game, when you couldn’t listen to music in the locker room because no one had a stereo?  Luckily, there was always the one teammate that kept everyone entertained through his ability to create a beat with his mouth.  He usually wasn’t the best athlete, probably wasn’t the team captain, but always kept everyone in high spirits after a loss, and certainly had an important spot on the team.

Everyone who can identify with that situation can understand how invaluable beatboxing is.

So it’s not surprising those artists who were able to incorporate their unique talent, like Doug E. Fresh, were successful early in their careers.  Buffy from the Fat Boys, as well as Biz Markie, were two more innovators who brought beatboxing to the forefront of hiphop by effectively layering music with their uncommon gift.

And it’s important to note that while almost anyone can make noise to generate a simple beat with their mouth, only the truly gifted and well-rehearsed have the ability to create art.  The rest are lucky if the end result is something other than an annoying Boom-Chh-Boom-Boom-Chh.

But it’s not just the ability to emulate instruments that contribute to the art form.  Each artist is also a master of impersonation when it comes to reproducing another artist’s voice.  Then there’s the bass line, and a flawless recreation of a variety of scratches and sound effects.

Take into consideration that as an individual, the artist is usually duplicating a sound originally created by a three or four person band, or a synthesiser, or more than one sample from record.  Adding the imitation of a voice, and contrasting all of the previous elements with cuts from a make-believe turntable, it is truly astonishing when you consider the accuracy with which it is done.

And in 2011, while music continues to develop sonically, beatboxing is still just as relevant on stage as it was in the high school locker room.

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