Why ? aka Yogi Guyadin is the longest active member of Urban Art Beat staff. He considers himself the ultimate student of the program, after volunteering for several years he began to lead workshops and expand the organization by bringing in other artists to teach various disciplines. As a Teaching Artist, he instructs workshops in Songwriting, Engineering, Production, and creates custom lesson plans used locally and internationally. Why ? records and mixes audio projects for the youth in addition to coordinating shows and fundraising events. To further grow, Yogi works with other organizations such as Arts Horizons, Open Thought Arts, Playback NYC, Art-Start and RDAC. He is currently the Program Director at several sites and assists other artists in becoming mentors
Why ? is a graduate from the Institute of Audio Research and began artistically as a poet and creative writer. He expanded into music by becoming an Audio Engineer, Producer and Emcee. He has released various projects and preformed at notable venues such as The Blue Note, Santos Party House, S.O.B’s, Sobe Live Miami, and The Yarbird Jazz Club in the UK. Why ? works with several musicians in bands and Playback NYC as an improvisational actor. He continues to grow by teaching himself music theory, instruments and voice. Check him out at www.whygandthexyzs.tumblr.com http://www.whygandthexyzs.tumblr.com/
Rahiem, aka Ra was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He has been a prominent force in the Hip-Hop industry since its inception. Ra started as a member of the pioneering Hip-Hop group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five; one of VH1s 2005 Hip Hop Honorees. In 2007 these legendary lyricists became the first Hip-Hop performers to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rahiem has collaborated with such artistic talents as: Nas, Teddy Riley, Angela Winbush and award-winning producer Dr. Dre.
In 1992 he demonstrated to the world his musical strengths by transitioning from great MC into professional vocalist, for the R&B soundtrack single “Does Your Man Know about Me” from the feature film “Juice”. He received a Gold record for writing and producing the song.
Ra is an activist, an actor and a speaker and has made many public appearances including a memorable performance on the David Letterman Show. In 2012, he toured with “Celebrities Against Breast Cancer.” Passionate about the positive aspects of Hip Hop history, he has recently brought his expertise to the academic lecture circuit, speaking at Yale and Cornell. He continues to work on music in all aspects, and enjoys sharing his skills and enthusiasm with the next generation. He is thrilled to work with both the mentors and the participants of Urban Art Beat to create new pieces, collaborate with community leaders, and elevate the culture.
Gustav Gauntlett is a professional teaching artist leading bi-lingual
workshops around the world. Emphasizing in Theater & Hip Hop
songwriting, Gustav’s process is very straightforward: Establish
trust through sharing stories, build confidence with unconditional
love, then create art in a safe space where everyone’s creative spirit
can shine. Learn more about Gustav’s workshops at
Islam Mahmoud was born in Egypt and came to the United States at the age of 7, he started making music at the age of 17. He has been a mentor for the Urban Art Beat for the last four years. His main roles are working with students ranging from the ages of 7-18, participating in art and music workshops, 12-week courses, and organizing many field trips and live performances with students. With the excellent training he received at Urban Art Beat, he is now equipped to write curriculum, organize fundraisers, mentor collaborative groups, and record vocals for students. Working with youth mentoring programs has been a life changing experience for Islam as he found a place where he learned to interact with the younger generation in a way that allowed them to freely express themselves through various forms of arts and beyond. These workshops motivate him not only to become a better musician, but a better person as a whole.
Even though he’s only been in New York City for a short period of time
(2 years) Alex Busby Smith has already made great strides establishing himself
in the city. He has performed with Grammy Award Winning Artists Tarey Torae and Father Goose
as well as Renee Neufille, co-founder of the platinum selling group Zhane.
His strengths in the R&B/Pop genre also lead to performing with
Atlantic Recording Artist: Laura Izibhor opening for Brian McKnight.
Alex Smith is an alumnus of the famous Berklee College of Music
where he studied and performed with some of the most distinguished
music faculty in the world. This led to performing with world renowned
Jazz Trumpeter Tiger Okoshi at the International Trumpet Guild in
Alberta, Canada. In addition to performing as a sideman Alex stays active in his community
sharing his knowledge with the next generation of musicians.
Jake Rich was born and raised in Buffalo, New York and came to NYC in 2008 to study Music Business & Screenwriting at NYU. After stints as a bassist & vocalist in bands ranging from funk & soul to experimental hardcore, Jake now focuses his creative and managerial efforts towards Wellness Exchange, a genre-blending hip-hop group formed with fellow UAB artists, Why G? and Dave Seaward. “I love finding inspiration in different forms and testing their applicability in both music and writing. I might adapt one of Why G?’s vocal rhythms to create a bass line or change a story’s plot based on an interesting song structure. You can never know your own ability or what works unless you abandon judgment give it all a try.”
With a background in bass, drums, singing, beat making, emceeing, and music theory studies along with a passion for filmmaking and writing, JR joined Urban Art Beat in 2010 to help kids develop multiple means of expression in order to discover and craft their own life’s narrative. “I believe art is about genuine self-expression & discovery, experimentation, collaboration and connection with others. Giving back to the community and teaching those eager to learn is crucial for an artist to develop that connection with their fellow artists, their audiences and themselves. Mutual growth through sharing is what makes UAB work so well and is the mindset behind Wellness Exchange.” You can hear Wellness Exchange online at http://www.wellnessexchangeband.com
Sewell is an international motivational speaker, spoken word artist and facilitator. She has worked in the education field for the past 15 years. She has spoken at over 150 events, conferences and trainings. Serving on all major youth advisory boards and working with organizations such as NYLC, America’s Promise Alliance, State Farm and BET, Sewell continues to create new, innovative strateigies to reaching and teaching young people. She has created her own workshop and keynote series that focuses in on re-engaging at risk youth using methods like the arts. Currently, Sewell lives and works in New York City as an educational consultant, trainer and teacher.
Supremo Massiv is a recording artist, producer, musician, sound tech and composer from Brooklyn, NY. For the last decade, he has been building his skills in the NYC music scene as well as performing and recording with many bands at a wide array of events and venues. From plays anything from Hip Hop to Hardcore, Punk to Funk to Jazz. Premo studied percussion in school from an early age and later took interest in guitar, bass and other odd instruments. He joined the UAB family in early 2011 and is callable of instructing workshops in the following areas: Drums/ Percussion, Bass, Guitar, Production, Engineering, and Songwriting.
Ayano Hirose works with Urban Art Beat to help the youth realize their potential and create a safe community environment. She considers both students and staff as family. Ayano assists by helping out with administrative duties, photo, video, and assisting with events. Ayano is training to become a teaching artist by volunteering at several UAB programs and functions.
After having travelled and lived all over the world with a camera always at her side, Rae eventually turned her love for photography into a career. Her work is inspired by everyday thoughts and feelings, whether its catalyst is society as a whole or a person she’s met; in capturing still images there is a story to be told. Her passion for working with youth began at an early age when she ran a kids summer camp for an orphange in Mexico and of course, every day was documented with photos. Since then, she has been involved with several volunteer organizations and continues to create art in the hopes to provoke and stimulate the mind. Rae currently lives in Brooklyn and has work on display throughout New York City. http://www.raemaxwell.com/
Elijah “Emajor” Shippe was born and raised in Queensbridge Houses located in Long Island City. He discovered his passion for drumming at a very young age and began playing in church. This
musical talent then evolved to singing and song writing, and hasn’t stopped performing and collaborating with other artists since. In the summer of 2010, Elijah met Why G? and they instantly connected. He became the newest member to the band “Why G and the XyZ’s” as their drummer the night they met. Eventually he started to volunteer and mentor some of the students that work with Urban Art Beat. Elijah has a profound love for music and helping the youth succeed around him. He is also a music producer and a poet using his talent to spread a positive message and uplift the community. He is currently attending college for Business Administration & Management, and also works as a peer leader at The Child Center of New York in Queens, educating inner city youth. You can contact him via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). He also has some of his material at www.emajorprod.bandcamp.com
Kate Hess has been singing and writing since she was little.
She is currently working on a recording project merging beats, spoken word, and singing; along the lines of the floetry genre. That said, her influences are Erykah Badu, Meshell Ndegeocello, and the likes. Music and performance saved her throughout school, so she endeavors to give back to students in the same way by mentoring and assisting in the songwriting/lyrical process.
She also has a background in theatre and dance, which she is equally adept and passionate about. She believes all art forms are related and complement each other.
Yako 440 is a musician, producer, graffiti artist, graphic designer, and all around multi-media Hip Hopper. His skills include human beatbox, turntables, guitar, keys, and percussion to name a few. In 6 continents this sonic arsenal has been put into use performing with MC/beatboxer Baba Israel, improvisational Hip Hop theatre troupe Playback NYC; he has shared the stage with Afrika Bambaataa, Doug E. Fresh, KRS-1, Busta Rhymes, and many more. Yako 440 is also a scholar with his Master of Fine Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College (USA). He has also taught music and art workshops with all age groups since 2000 throughout NYC and all over the world.