Beatboxing: International Community PART I

BY KEVIN KLEVJER

Psalm 139:14 - I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

We are more fearfully and wonderfully made than we realize. Beatboxing is clear evidence of this.

I first got into beatboxing, a form of the art of vocal percussion, when I was in college in 2002. I had a roommate that had been in an a cappella group and had gotten a little bit into the beatboxer named Rahzel (a.k.a., the Godfather of Noise). He taught me the basics and I learned a few covers.

It was a nice party trick, but it wasn't until 2010 that beatboxing became a real part of my life. After beatboxing for my fellow “partners” at Starbucks, I was reinvigorated to learn some new beatboxing sounds and skills. I went online and was pleased to find not only some great tutorials about how to do different beatbox sounds, but was incredibly impressed by the skill of today’s beatboxers. 

Most of all, I was overwhelmed by the sense of international community between those who beatbox. The beatboxing community online is astounding.  It welcomes newbies with open arms.

Probably one of the coolest things that has happened as I’ve jumped into the world of beatbox has been meeting my friend Kenji, a.k.a. Revillusion.

I met Kenji through a YouTube video he made in honor of Humanbeatbox.com and its 10 year anniversary. In it he said he was from Seattle, so I messaged him on YouTube and asked if he wanted to jam sometime. He came over a few nights later with three of my beatboxing friends and we jammed together with my amp and two microphones.

It was a blast! What had, up until then, been mostly just me and the internet, had turned into genuine community. We could have stayed up all night beatboxing if it wasn’t for the paper-thin walls in my town house.

We posted a simple video of our exploits on the Beatbox Battle TV Facebook page and on a Humanbeatbox.com forum and we had 407 views from 47 different countries. Kenji and I started jamming together; we entered a Ventrillo battle together with San Diego Beatbox. I did pretty horribly, but at least I lost to the guy who won.

Beatboxing has an incredible ability to build community and relationships.

Just over a year ago I had the privilege to serve an urban youth ministry in South Seattle. I am a very white white-guy so I was concerned about how I would build relationships with students from one of the most diverse ZIP codes in America.

What I came to find, however, was that many of them were very talented freestyle rappers.  They loved to rap over my beatboxing. It was an instant-in with these youth that I desired to pour into. 

I've only scratched the surface on the topic of beatboxing and its story in my life, but I encourage you to check out the beatbox community for yourself.

In the famous words of Fat Tony:

Peace, love, and beatbox,

-Kevtron

Kevtron Spring Ball 2.jpg

PS: As you look forward to the next installment on beatboxing, beware of the effects that beatboxing may have on your life