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UAB performs our 4th Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival Set at 12:30!

UAB Performs at 12:30!!


07 2012

Daily News Feature: Jan 2008

**Please see below the article to read the story!



Hip hop takes stage as teaching tool in nabes where the genre was born 
Sunday, January 20th 2008
When 13-year-old Steven (King) Ayala strides confidently down the hall at South Bronx Preparatory, students follow. 
When he enters Rosaleen Knoepfel’s sixth-grade classroom, people notice. 
When he freestyles in her after-school program, his rhymes ring. 
“Think twice,” he raps. “Wrong or right, think twice, day and night, think twice, death or life.” 
King is one of more than 40 students in the after-school Urban Art Beat program at the middle school at 145th St. and Third Ave. in Mott Haven. 
Every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., kids ages 10 to 14 pile into Knoepfel’s room to write rhymes, make beats, discuss the history of hip hop and learn from visiting underground emcees. 
Urban Art Beat is an example of a growing trend of using hip hop as a teaching tool, especially in neighborhoods where the music form was born. 
“There was no art program at the school,” said Knoepfel, 31, who created Urban Art Beat three years ago. 
“And you take the life out of education if there’s no art program.” 
On a recent Tuesday, rapper HG, or Hired Gun, spoke to the kids about the South Bronx and hip hop’s inception. 
“The guys who started hip hop, they weren’t much older than you,” he said. “It’s important to understand your history and the context of where it comes from. It’s what empowers you.” 
Beyond learning how to rhyme and make music, the kids are taught to express themselves and to use hip hop as a way to develop personally. 
Urban Art Beat also helps keep kids in school. Isaac Smith, who goes by Izzy, said that if he didn’t have the program, he’d be outside – maybe getting into trouble. 
“School is boring,” he said, adding he wished Urban Art Beat met more than once a week. 
Knoepfel, whose background is in theater and directing, became a teacher through the New York City Teaching Fellows program, which puts career-changers into some of the city’s toughest schools. 
“I was hanging out at Sin-Sin, an East Village club, and hearing a lot of rappers doing socially conscious stuff,” she said. “And one night, an emcee named Bisc took the mike and rapped about kids having to wear gas masks to school, and I told him about my vision and he was into it.” 
Brad Smith, aka Busy Bisc1…”What we teach them gives them skills,” he said. “And they get to hold their heads up high.” 
Margaret Glendis, assistant principal at South Bronx Prep, is impressed by “the kids and the music.” 
“I think it’s educational, because it gets kids away from being passive absorbers of information,” she said. 


06 2009