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Bring It: A Challenge to Make a Beat Sampling for a Fijan Chant

Making a beat out of this sample is a challenge we're issuing worldwide.

We took a field trip to a Baha'i Faith Center in Suva, Fiji, to record local performers and sounds to make beats. We were invited by our beat-making student Paul, a guitar-playing community activist who, with his wife, ran a youth dance company at the center. On deck for the evening was a very striking style of local music and dance—Pacific Island body percussion—and it was really amazing.

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I remember meeting Ben on the second day of class. He missed the first day because he had to take a 12-hour boat from his home in Savusavu, to get to where the beat-making workshops were being held at the University of the South Pacific in Suva. Our host, Dave Lavaki (also known as rapper Mr. Grin), introduced Ben as a talented pianist, singer, and community activist with a background at the Berkeley College of Music.

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Hip-Hop University: How the Genre Is Taking Over Higher Learning

Right now, we are at in an interesting historical moment in hip-hop.

Right now, we are at in an interesting historical moment in hip-hop. Over the past 40 years, the culture has grown from its grassroots foundations at Bronx block parties, to becoming the most important youth culture on the planet. There have been a wide range of institutional co-signs, from rappers spitting poetry in the White House, to colleges and universities offering classes and degrees on hip-hop.

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This Week in Beat Making: Hip-Hop Made in a Senegalese Hospital

Here's a crazy experiment: visit a hospital and try to make a beat using only sounds that you find at the facility.


Here's a crazy experiment: visit a hospital and try to make a beat using only sounds that you find at the facility. What would you come up with? This was a question we posed to our student—a Senegalese beat maker named Ina—and her counterparts, thousands of miles away in Fiji.

We took Ina to a health care facility outside of Dakar with a recording device, and asked her to collect audio samples. She grabbed all types of noises: babies crying, the sound of velcro being ripped off of a blood pressure gauge, the clanging of metal stretchers, and even goats roaming the hospital grounds. She also recorded interviews, asking children, patients, health workers and community leaders what they thought about family planning. These sounds became the foundation of an instrumental beat, which we hope will help raise awareness about family planning in West Africa.

The unusual composition came about after brainstorming with a global health organization called Intrahealth. Their focus in West Africa is to educate communities about healthy intervals between births, contraception options, and cultural misconceptions about family planning. Our focus in West Africa is merging the worlds of art and activism through music and beat making.

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