Rock the School Bells 11: digging into the orgins of hip-hop

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Rock The School Bells 11 (RTSB), rocked the Skyline College campus on Saturday, March 10, educating and empowering this generation through many aspects of hip-hop culture and its roots. This was the RTSB’s 11 annual event at Skyline.

Rock The School Bells has served as a bridge for students in Skyline’s Center for Innovative Practices through Hip Hop Education & Research (CIPHER) learning community. The learning community was created by facilitators who felt the need for students to have something tying them to the hip-hop community year round.

Before the birth of CIPHER, Rock The School Bells was just an annual event. Joseph Magsaysay, who is a Skyline College alumni, participated in the RTSB community during his time at Skyline, and is now on the advisory board and helped coordinate the event.

“As a student, I was so inspired, and I was receiving the knowledge,” Magsaysay said. “As a coordinator, you see how the event comes together, you are planning the knowledge.”

RTSB revolves around hip-hop culture, but in addition, the mission is to serve and prepare youth through that platform.

Attendees were given several chances to express themselves with open mic sessions and dance battles. Additionally, the attendees were educated through a series of videos, keynote speeches, concerts, and workshops involving different elements, led by facilitators.

High school teacher, Mike Tinoco volunteered to lead the Beats, Breaks, and 808’s, a beatboxing workshop. Tinoco feels that beatboxing isn’t always represented in hip-hop workshops.

“Beatboxing is not often thoroughly studied,” said Tinoco. “We think of (beatboxing) as just making beats with the mouth, but there is so much more to it in terms of its capacity to build community and create organic music from the most primal instrument we have, the mouth, and using the beat within the heart.”

Like many of the facilitators at RTSB, Tinoco looks at not only his specific element, but all of hip-hop, as something that will continue to educate our youth.

“I think it’s important that we understand the roots of hip-hop culture,” said Tinoco. “From how it’s evolved, to how it can continue to help us navigate the challenges that we are facing, whether it’s the current administration or different forms of oppression that come up in our lives.”

Multiple generations were represented, as RTSB educates a community beyond Skyline College students.

Monserrat Gonzalez, first-time attendee, and Jharel Lopez, third-year attendee, came out to support RTSB because of their love for music and art.

Gonzalez, who attended a Fil Ams (Filipino Americans) in Hip Hop workshop felt she gained new insight.

“I like that in my [workshop] they went through the history, and didn’t just jump to the now,” Gonzalez said. “It’s nice to know the whole picture and not just today.”

Lopez who went to a Lyrical Opposition workshop during the morning session said he enjoyed seeing kids younger than him rap.

“I think it’s important for kids to take part in this,” Lopez said.” I hate when the little ones just follow the hype and do it because other people are doing it, it’s important to know your roots and the history.”