ATLFF 2011 - Beatboxing pleads the Fifth Element

Beatboxing - The Fifth Element of Hip Hop Doug E. Fresh, The Fat Boys and Biz Markie are early names you can associate with being a Human Beat Box. The art of creating drum beats and imitating musical instruments using only the human voice and body, Beatboxing, has been an integral part of Hip Hop since the early 80s.

The Atlanta Film Festival brings a documentary Beatboxing – The Fifth Element of Hip-Hop that documents the history and evolution of Beatboxing. It has become a multilingual, diverse and technically complex form of expression that almost four decades later continues to cross musical genres and influence artists around the globe.

Director Klaus Schneyder, a schoolteacher from Germany , felt “The art of making drum beats with the mouth has largely been neglected by writers and researchers when it comes to Hip-Hop history.” He initially wanted to write a book about the art form but after several research trips were filmed he decided to make a documentary on the subject and put the book on hold for the moment.

The result is a film featuring artists from around the globe who all have perfected there own brand of Beatboxing and advanced the art form to this day.

In Atlanta , we have an artist who has not only honed his own brand of Human Beat Box but has made a name for himself as the No. 1 Hip-Hop show host in America . I’m referring to Dres Tha Beatnik, of course, and he has agreed to make a special introduction for the film since the director will not be on hand for this screening. You won’t want to miss Dres or the movie.

I had a chance to speak with Dres Tha Beatnik about Beatboxing and other topics.

Questions for DRES THA BEATNIK:

How did you begin performing the Human Beat Box?

I actually began Beatboxing at age 14. I did it initially just to keep the Freestyle Cypher going and I could keep a consistent beat going longer. So it stuck.

Do you think the art of Beatboxing will rise to its former prominence or remain in the background?

I do believe that the Art of Human Beatboxing is still relevant in Hip Hop Culture just not here in the U.S. other Countries have embraced the Art form and have also pushed the envelope with regards to the Art form. Here in America we need to do better... There are Competitions that go on here in the States that help American Beatboxers & Vocal Percussionists get better at their craft. Also, you have to keep in mind that in Pop Culture the Human Beatbox has never really left the Sonic Landscape. Justin Timberlake, Timbaland & The King Of Pop have all intertwined Human Beatboxing into their Stage Shows and Recorded material so that's proof to me that it's still here and will never die. It's not a Sideshow sort of thing and to imply would be doing the Art form a disservice. I believe that it becomes that mostly because it’s not an Easy thing to do well. It takes a Whole lot of Practice.

You are also a celebrated Hip-Hop Host, how important is that role in the workings of the music community?

I believe that the Role of a Host/Master of Ceremonies is a very important one when it comes to the Live Production aspect of the Music Business. But it's also a thankless Job at times. It's the one Position that’s Crucial to transforming a Concert/Party/Event from Ok or Good to Memorable, if done correctly. But it's the last position to be filled, it becomes an afterthought at times and that's quite honestly a shame. I've seen Great Hosts turn a Den of Lions into a Flock of Sheep with just a couple of well placed words and some Eye Contact, I feel as if we are Modern Day Magicians, if you will. And I'm proud to say that I AM NOT JUST A HOST but I am the #1 Live Concert Host in the Country (Shameless Plug) LOL!!

What other projects are you currently involved with?

Well, currently I am a National Spokesperson for the “Greater Than Aids: Deciding Moments Campaign”. I created the Soundtrack for the National Radio PSA's and I also travel the Country educating & creating awareness of the Virus & Disease and how it affects the African American community. Also, I've taken on My First Acting Role in a Film called STEP OFF produced by Reel One Entertainment and Available on DVD from Lionsgate Films. My Character is called Mighty Mouth and He is the Host of The Iron Chef Beatmaker's Battle . I'm very Proud of my work in it. I'm a Weekly resident at the Legendary MJQ Concourse in Atlanta for a Weekly Party called FANTASTIC FRIDAYS alongside DJ Lord, DJ Fudge, The Grand Emperial DJ Majestik and DJ Skooter. I'm also Co-Owner of a Company called 470 Media LLC w/ My Partner Eric Barnes and we're currently working on a Concert Series called The HOMECOMING where we bring Arena/Stadium Level Musical Talent into Intimate Venues for Ultra Exclusive Live Performances. And I'll be returning to The People's Republic of China this Summer where I'll be not only taking a Club Residency but I will also be fulfilling my Duties as U.S .Cultural Liaison going to Chinese International & Little (Elementary) Schools conducting Human Beatboxing Clinics, as well as, going to Chinese Universities conducting Lectures on American Hip Hop Culture & it's Global Responsibility.

Thank You for taking the time to sit down and talk to me. I appreciate It, Your Readership, Publication & You. Always remember to #FOLLOWTHEHAT!!

Beatboxing – The Fifth Element of Hip-Hop screens Thursday night 5/5 at 9:45pm at the Landmark Theater.

For more information about Beatboxing – The Fifth Element of Hip-Hop you can visit the movie’s website

For more information about Dres Tha Beatnik, you may visit the following links: