From March 25 to April 9, 2018, hip hop artists Serouj “Midus” Aprahamian (Dancer), Marisol “PinqyRing” Veléz (MC), Michael “Cobaine Ivory” McFadgen (Beatmaker), and Ayumi “Sanoizm” Chisolm (Graffiti Writer), along with site manager Kane Smego, traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia as part of the Next Level Program. Next Level’s Cambodia residency was conducted in partnership with the local music organization and recording label KlapYaHandz, led by director Sok “Cream” Visal. Through the Next Level Academy, artist-educators conducted intensive workshops in dance, MCing, beatmaking, and graffiti/aerosol art. The artist-educators also held workshops and jam sessions at the Music Arts School and Tiny Toones, two local NGOs that work with underserved youth from Phnom Penh and other Cambodian cities.
Next Level’s artist-educators were also able to collaborate with traditional Khmer musicians who are part of the Khmer Magic Music Bus, a program connected to the prominent arts NGO Cambodia Living Arts. The jam session took place at the home of Arn Chorn-Pond, founder of Cambodia Living Arts and survivor of the Cambodian Genocide. The Next Level Academy culminated with a final concert that featured performances by Next Level artist-educators and Cambodian student-collaborators, along with a collaborative performance with members of the traditional musicians from the Khmer Magic Music Bus. Next Level’s Team Cambodia is part of a larger Next Level cohort of American MCs, DJs, beat makers, and hip hop dancers who seek to build global community through hip hop culture.