FRANKLYWNOW - Beatbox Culture

Beatbox Culture

   When beatboxing had gotten its humble beginnings in the 1980's no one could forecast the impact that it would have on the world today.  At the time, small groups of people would beatbox for many different reasons, be it as a small hobby to impress friends, or as a way to compose music. In fact many pieces of music today that have become popular have been composed by beatboxing. For example, many do not know that the legendary Michael Jackson was a beatboxer himself. He composed many different songs by beatboxing to them first before having it worked out in the studio. Two notable songs were "Who Is It?" and the all-time classic "Billie Jean". There have been some raw rare video interviews in which he is seen actually explaining the process in which he composes certain songs. He was still using beatboxing to the very last songs he was working on. A very clear and noticeable example is of a snippet off of the album "Michael" where there is raw audio of him calling a music producer over the phone explaining the beat to "The Way You Love Me" by actually beatboxing into the phone.  

    Another notable beatboxer in the recent mainstream is Justin Timberlake. His songs have been heavily influenced by beatboxing beats. In fact, most of his latest album "Future Sex/Love Sounds" can be beatboxed. The most popular video of Timberlake beatboxing is in a music video he did with his one-time Pop group *NSYNC, in a song titled "Pop". At the very end of the video there is footage of him beatboxing in a mashed up video edit.

    Stepping away from the mainstream, beatboxing has been known as an art form that can take on various genres of music. The most popular examples are pop and hip-hop, though there can be pieces that are made for R&B, Jazz, Rock, Reggae, and electronic music. In tournaments, beatboxing in the genre of electronic is highly popular due to its level of difficulty. Beatboxing an electronic track requires cleanliness, speed, and a bit of consistency.

    Though performing a cover is always a crowd-pleaser, much more respect is given in the community for an original composition. Original compositions show off creative and one's general style and who they are as an individual. It is the same concept that is applied to that of playing a guitar. People would love to listen to covers of songs, but originality is what is really admired. Beatboxers, however have an added advantage of being even more creative.  A notable beatboxer is Nathan ‘Flutebox' Lee,  a beatboxer who beatboxes and plays the flute at the same time. Another innovation that has been making waves in the beatbox world is the use of a loop station allowing beatboxers to create more complex layered beats.

 

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