Ohio State Freestyle & Beatbox Club
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Ohio State Freestyle & Beatbox Club

Columbus, OH, USA | Established. Jan 01, 2011

Columbus, OH, USA
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Hip Hop

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"Ohio State rap club spits scarlet fire"

Night has fallen over the Ohio State campus and a student is looking through YouTube on a classroom computer that professors use during the day.
The student finds a hip-hop beat to play on the classroom’s speaker system and a whole new lesson has begun.
The OSU Freestyle Rap and BeatBox Club has been around since the fall of 2010.
It is a learning environment where new members are always welcome.
“We have people who come in here who are just strictly beginners,” said Chris Love, a fourth-year in communication and general member of the club. “Sometimes they can’t even put words together, and you have people who come and they just spectate, they come to another meeting and they might start trying to freestyle.”
Members of the club have played shows at the Scarlet and Grey Cafe and Skully’s Music Diner, said Adam Bryant, club president and fourth-year in communication.
“Everyone’s been growing, every time we perform it’s a better show than the time before,” Bryant said.
Bryant said that he first started rapping when he was in eighth grade. Rappers who influenced him include Chance the Rapper and Nas.
A variety of rap influences and backgrounds come together when club members meet.

“Who I draw my inspiration from is J. Cole, and you could tell. He’s a rapper who speaks on a lot of poverty and where he came from,” Love said.
He said that he plans on pursuing a career in rap music after graduating, and the club is meaningful practice for him.
“This kinda helps me keep my sight on my goal,” Love said “You can lose sight of that goal.”
Members of the club said they want to contribute more to Columbus’ own rap scene.
“I feel like Columbus’ hip-hop scene is kinda lame, it lacks flavor, it lacks originality,” Love said. “We all sound completely different, and we can all be that variety that Columbus needs.”
He said that group members keep in mind where they have been and where they are now.
“We bring a little bit from our hometowns and stuff, so we contribute to this but we also represent Columbus,” Bryant said.
Bryant is from Canton while Love is from Cleveland.
Love said that the members of the club want to be sure to stay true to the original elements of hip-hop culture while also pushing it forward.
“To our core we are all hip-hop heads,” said Ryan Hauldren, a third-year in industrial systems engineering. “These are some of my first friends that I’ve made (at OSU).”
Along with friendship, the club provides a helpful outlet for members.
“I come here, I release everything, I talk about problems that I might be having during the week, but at the same time this is fun to me,” Love said. “I don’t have to go and party, as long as I come here I’m good.” - The Lantern


"Meet the OSU Freestyle & Beatbox Club"

January 23, 2011
614 Magazine

Silence casts a shadow over the circle and everyone is at a stand still for just a moment. Heads slowly begin to nod and arms start to sway as a small beat steadily builds in the background. A rush of powerful words suddenly erupts within the circle and all become captured by the rhythm and lyrics.

For members of Ohio State’s Freestyle Rap and Beat Box Club, this circle sets the tone for their organization: a creative environment in which students can freely express themselves. Adding a new dimension of sound to freestyle rapping, members are challenged to interlace the flow of these swift, free flowing raps with the extraordinary range of beat box noises.

“A lot of people freestyle rap on campus with instrumentals but it brings that much more fun to add it onto a beat box,” said Keith Shields, the club’s president and a freshman at OSU.

Shields first developed an interest in beat boxing during his childhood and has witnessed his talents grow over the past several years.

“I’ve always grown up beat boxing,” he said. “Every year, I keep going and sounds just get added.”

In high school, Shields would watch as crowds would gather in the halls as a friend rapped over his beat box noises. He also experienced this same interest from other students when performing in his freshman residence hall. Motivated by the curiosity and fascination of onlookers, Shields sought to bring freestyle rappers and beat boxers together in one organization at OSU. His vision ultimately became a reality in the fall of 2010 with the club’s start.

The innovativeness and diversity of the club has made it a growing presence within the OSU and local community. With over sixty members and gradually growing, the organization is in the process of planning programs with other campus groups such as the 8th Floor Improv Club as well as arranging an on-air session with Columbus’s Youth Beat Radio.

While some club members have launched demo tapes, developed musical blogs, and performed as disc jockeys, other individuals like Mallory Workman are newcomers to this scene. Although she became accustomed to being on stage during high school plays, Workman, a freshman at OSU, felt both a sense of anxiety and excitement about her first time performing with the club.

“The experience was exhilarating to be out of my element,” Workman said. “Its really invigorating to do something you’re nervous about for the first time.”

Amidst this nervousness, Workman also noted the encouragement she received from other members during her try at rapping.

“I felt a lot of support from everyone else,” she said. According to Shields, this support is an important element of the club’s plan to give individuals greater self-assurance both on and off stage.

“A big thing the club is looking to do is increase confidence,” he said.

Aside from performing at weekly meetings, the club has also found ways to further build members’ confidence by bringing their distinct styles and sounds to a popular area on campus: High Street. In what are referred to as ciphers, students first start rapping and beat boxing within a small circle. As the raps become stronger and the beats become louder, onlookers are drawn in by the excitement of the performance, causing the circle to rapidly expand. From local workers to curious students, dozens of people gather closer, eager to be a part of the captivating event.

“Even rapping in a circle is technically a performance because everyone’s listening to you,” Shields said.

Along with promoting the club on campus, these ciphers also showcase the improvisation and skill possessed by these freestyle rappers.

“Nothing’s planned,” Shields said. “You’re just going line by line. That’s the hard thing about freestyle rapping.” Vanavia Weatherly, who first began beat boxing in sixth grade, has always appreciated the innovative aspects of this creative art.

“You don’t have to do the same thing as other people,” said Weatherly, a freshman at OSU. “It’s a beat. You want it to be different.”

To give her beats an original sound, Weatherly constantly searches for new sounds that inspire her in day-to-day life.

“Every noise I take into consideration,” she said. “I think how can I make a beat out of that.” While she continues to bring her own novel twist to beat boxing, Weatherly notes that she has seen her own beat boxing skills advance and improve by watching others perform in the club.

“You listen to all these talents and originalities, and it adds on to your own style,” she said.

One of the club’s greatest accomplishments thus far has been the development of a Freestyle Academy for OSU students. Designed for individuals with interest but no talent, this weekly course will offer students the opportunity to learn from club members in the hopes of developing their skills. From simply memorizing a favorite song to creating one’s own raps, students are encouraged to reach outside their comfort zone and become more confident in their abilities through a classroom setting.

“I want people to come with so many ideas and not be afraid to put it out on the table,” Weatherly said. “I think when you learn to freestyle rap you get to know yourself more because your feelings come out in the words.”

Shields shares a similar hope for the Academy’s success.

“Freestyle rapping is something that people can use to express themselves and their thoughts in a creative and fun way, among friends,” he said. “The Freestyle Academy will bring this to everybody, especially those without experience in freestyling, and they will come to see why we love what we do so much.” - 614 Magazine


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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