FRANKLYWNOW - The Origins of Beatboxing

The Origins of Beatboxing

   To understand beatboxing, we need to first define what beatboxing is. Beatboxing is an art form in which an individual can create and re-create sounds with their mouth, most commonly it has been set to a certain rhythm to emulate mainstream music.

   Though many believe that beatboxing is a recent phenomenon, the art form has been around since the ancient times, dating as far back as the ancient Indians and CHijnese. The CHinese specifically recreated sounds they would hear in nature such as the sound of rushing water, bird calls, and even the rustle of leaves. Kouji, the specific style of beatboxing to the Chinese is still alive and well today at televised variety shows. However, the art of Kouji had not spread for years and has still to this day, been seen as a foreign concept to many across the globe.

   The modern phenomenon of beatboxing did not start until the 1980's with the introduction of drum machines- where were referred to as beat boxes. Though it isn't clear who exactly brought on this modern day phenomenon, there are those who are credited as the forefathers of modern day beatboxing. Dougie Fresh, a part-time rapper and music producer is one of those figures. Kenny Mohammed is another figure that is still very active in the beatbox community. He is noted for his signature beatbox technique simply called the Wind Technique. He has been a special guest of the London Philharmonic performing on sate with them, and a judge at many beatbox competitions.

   Beatboxing has been commonly misaligned as solely being associated with the genre of hip-hop, and while in the early days it may be true, beatboxing has constantly been evolving. New techniques are constantly being added and technology has been embraced. One person who can be credited as a game changer is that of 2-time UK beatbox champion Beardyman. Beardyman has brought beatboxing in the form of techno and dubstep music to the forefront as well as using it for jazzy type tones. One of the most distinctive parts of his act is the use of a loop station in which he holds live performances and creates beats on the fly that have people going wild.

   With the invention of the Internet and the popularity of YouTube, beatboxing has spread at record speeds never seen before, it is only a matter of time before we encounter another artist who changes the game again.

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