Beat box, also called beat boxing, both in English and Spanish means a box of rhythms. It is based in the reproduction of sounds such as those of a drum kit, cymbals, base drum, and other musical instruments through the use of your mouth, tongue, lips, and voice.
One of the elements of hip hop, like break dance, rap, and graffiti, beat box developed as a street style. In the poor neighborhoods of New York radio cassette players, boom boxes, were rare and expensive. They were also heavy.
As another option for laying down a rhythm track for rapping or dancing people could recreate rhythm with their bodies and beat box was born.Once born it developed into different styles such as:
Freestyle: This style is an improvisation at any moment using anything that can generate a rhythmic chain or track.
Covers: By using beat box people could imitate different songs of known groups.
Layer: Many tracks; this consists in recording, laying down, various layers of sounds and playing them simultaneously.
Scratch: This style is specifically dedicated to vocal scratch.
As part of hip hop, beat box has expanded throughout the whole world because of the internet and other means of communication. In Cusco many youth are influenced by urban culture through hip hop and its elements.
One of these tells us the following.
My name is Max Horacio Quispe Vera and my nickname, my alias is AxO Beat. I am 22 years old and am from the town of Sicuani in Cusco. I am a law and political sciences student in the Andean University of Cuzco. I have been practicing beat box now for four years. It has become my favorite pass-time. It is something I do every day and, as a result, is my way of life.
I began with break dance after seeing some videos on the internet. It called my attention because of the contests organized by Red Bull and the skill of the break dancers.
After some time I had learned the basics of break dance and in the university people told me about beat box, but I did not pay much attention to it yet. After school, when I got home, I thought about what they had said and decided there was nothing wrong in looking it up and learning since I had some free time.
So, when I heard the sounds I could not believe they were real. That they made the sounds with their mouth, just like DJs did with electronics, had an impact on me. I looked for tutorials online about how one could do the different sounds, such as those of the bass drum, cymbals, snare, and about combining it all.
At first my technique was very basic. Then after 6 months I met my first beat boxer in person. He was called Free Beats. I also became part of the community called Beat Box Latino Presente (Latin Beat Box Here) and the peruvian beat box community.
The showed me how to enter into communication with beat boxers from other places through a program called Ventrillo. This program allowed people to communicate with their voice in person and it organized battles and competitions of beat box on the web. They were organized by the president of Latin Beat Box Presente, Renato Davila, who is known as Blink Town.
That was where I got way more into Beat Box. I began to learn complicated sounds by listening to new songs. I looked for information on other sounds and shared with other beat boxers. I also learned about new genres, such as dubstep which is a genre derived from electronica music, along with drum and bass that are also a kind of electronica.
Someone I admire and who made me work hard to reach my goals in beat box is Robert Lobo, alias Robeat. He is a professional beat boxer and I would like to be able to perform like he does.
I have participated in several competitions such as the Takanakuy Cusco Hip Hop where I won first place and got a crystal diploma. I also participated in an online beatbox competition for Latin America, where I represented Peru along with another companion from Lima. We fought other beat boxers from our brother countries in Latin America and I almost reached the quarter finals.
I continue with beat box and practice it every day trying to improve my abilities. I also try to teach it to other youths who are interested in beat box and who can spend time enjoying it.
I am on social networks with my name. You can also find me doing beat box on Youtube. My fanpage is AxO Beat Box.
Just like our friend Max there is a lot of talent in Cuzco among the youth of this generation who just need an opportunity or a little push to begin learning and enjoying something new.