The Hip Hop HeadUcatorz is a group of Ontario Teachers who believe in the use of hip hop culture to inspire and engage students. The HeadUcatorz is formed by DJs, producers, emcees, and graffiti artists who are active educators across Southern Ontario.
Guest Post by Michael “MikeAll” Grandsoult
With most Hip Hop HeadUcatorz songs, “Teaching at Home” was sparked by MC and engineer, Wizekrak. After selecting an exhilarating drum-driven instrumental by producer I.Khan, Wizekrak penned the first verse. He spoke about the realities of teaching at home during this lockdown, and that set the theme. Initially, MikeAll declined the invite to write citing stress at adapting to e-learning. However, after some typical encouragement from Wizekrak and hearing the captivating beat, MikeAll did get ta work!
The dominoes started to fall in place as members recorded vocal tests and shared them via a WhatsApp group. Graf Artist and MC, Tigz, wrote what would be an electrifying set-off verse. In true team teaching spirit, members fed off each other for inspiration. The intro and outro chant, by multi-disciplinary artist Jon Corbin, incorporated and expanded some of Tigz’s opening lines. French teacher, A-Cubed, dropped some “tres bien” bars en Francais adding a fresh texture.
Chase March, DJ and MC, reflected on his experiences with e-learning to express the empathy that is so crucial to meaningful student-teacher connections. In what is this author’s favourite verse, educator and poet, The Apologette, made her recording debut as a Hip Hop HeadUcator. Finally, gym teacher, Just Sev, sweat out some lyrics stressing the need for physical and mental health!
The recording was a test of resourceful ingenuity as the lockdown restricted many members from attending their regular studio. Devices like headsets, phones, and even a Blackberry were used to record verses which were then mixed and mastered expertly by Wizekrak.
With most of the vocals done, the discussion turned towards ideas for a video. No surprise that the official visual artist of the crew, Tigz, suggested framing the video as a Zoom conference call. Members recorded themselves separately and editor extraordinaire, Wizekrak, put it all together. This song was truly a pleasure to make and an example of using “negative” circumstances to stimulate positive creations. The Hip Hop HeadUcatorz hope it provides some entertainment and inspiration during these challenging times.