Beatboxing is an Art

Biz Markie was beatboxing before he was rapping. Most of us are familiar with his classic song “Just a Friend” but I’d like to play for you the way he can “Make the Music” with his mouth.

That was Biz Markie “Make the Music With Your Mouth.” What a perfect song to play for a show dedicated to the art of beatboxing.
He really breaks down what beatboxing is all about. He says, “I tried it at a homeboy’s basement party. They thought it was a record. They ain’t know it was me” which goes to show that beatboxers can be virtually indistinguishable from a record.
That brings me back to a concert I went to in 1996 at the CNE. It was The Roots, Dream Warriors, and Thrust. It was an amazing show. One of the best concerts I have ever been too. One highlight of the show was seeing the beatboxer in The Roots, Razhel, the Godfather of Noyze.
Rahzel had a fifteen-minute solo and he pretended to be a super-computer robot. He typed away at an imaginary computer and imitated the sounds of a clicking keyboard.
He called up a producer like the Rza from the Wu-Tang Clan and then played a Wu-Tang record – actually he didn’t play it. He completely mimicked the record with his mouth. It was mind-blowing to hear him recreate these famous hip-hop songs with just his mouth and no special effects. He did Jay-Z, Pete Rock, and others.
He then topped it all off by beatboxing and singing at the exact same time. He did Aaliyah “If Your Mother Only Knew.”
Biz Markie said, “That’s why I like doing songs that’s hard to achieve. Making two or three sounds at one time. You can’t believe. People always ask, ‘How you make all those sounds?’ … I say, ‘It takes lots of practice and lip control. I’ve been doing this since 15 years old.’”
Beatboxing is not easy. As Biz Markie said, it’s takes “movement, combination of your lip, tongue and throat. Use your teeth and your nose, from my experience I know”
I can’t believe we are running out of time here. I wanted to play three more songs but I only have time to play one.
I wanted to play Kenny Muhammad. He is known as The Human Orchestra. He uses breathing as a major part of his routine as well.
I wanted to talk about vocal percussion outside of hip-hop culture. I mean, Justin Timberlake uses it. Bjork uses it. Bobby McFerrin uses it too. Remember him? Don’t Worry Be Happy.
Remember Micheal Winslow from the Police Academy movies? A lot of people thought those sounds couldn’t possibly be made by one person and no special effects. But it is amazing what we can do with just our mouths.
So take some time, practice your sounds, see what you can come up with.
Let’s close out with some Rahzel doing a melody of Wu-Tang Clan hits.
Thanks for tuning in. Download this show and all the other Know Your History segments for free. 


See you soon for Episode 11. 

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