From April 29th to May 13th, 2017, five hip hop artists traveled to Zagreb, Croatia as part of the Next Level program. MC Toki Wright, DJ Jean-Jacques “J-Live” Cadet, Beat Maker Baba Israel, and Dancer Nancy “Asia One” Yu joined team manager Jaci Caprice Clark to perform for audiences and collaborate with local artists to promote cross-culture exchange and conflict resolution. The team is part of a larger Next Level cohort of twenty American MC’s, DJ’s, beat makers, and hip hop dancers leading exchange programs across the globe. You can read more about the artists here. See more videos of the team performing here.
Baba Israel is an internationally respected beatboxer, MC, and hip hop educator, who is also widely considered to be one of the leading figures in contemporary hip hop theater. He is currently working with a variety of leading arts institutions in New York City to design hip hop education and theater programs for a wide range of communities.
As a theatre and hip hop artist, he has toured across the US, Europe, South America, Australia and Asia, performing with artists such as Outkast, Philip Glass, Rahzel, Lester Bowie, KRS ONE, and Vernon Reid. As a musician, he has released a number of albums and collaborations with artists such as DJ Logic, Ming and FS, Zion I, Invincible, DJ Kiva, P-Money and long time collaborator Yako 440 (who was a Next Level participant).
He is also a core member of hip hop/soul project Soul Inscribed, who were selected as part of the American Music Abroad program to tour Russia, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Mauritus in 2016. He holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College.
Nancy “Asia One” Yu is one of the best-known and most-respected b-girls in the world, the founder and CEO of the annual B-Boy Summit event, a member of Fame City Graffiti Crew, President of the Mighty Zulu Kweenz Crew and founder of No Easy Props, a non-profit with the mission to preserve hip hop culture and provide education and entertainment to communities of all ages throughout the world. She appears extensively in commercials, television shows, and films.
Asia One holds a double B.A. in Art and Social Engagement, Multiculturalism & Activism from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her main interest and purpose is to bring diverse groups of people together to create discourse and social change, using the vehicle of hip hop.
Jean-Jacques “J-Live” Cadet is a 20-year music industry veteran, hip hop MC, DJ, producer, composer, songwriter, and a former middle school grade Language Arts teacher in the New York Public School system. His 2001 album, The Best Part, is widely considered an underground hip hop classic.
As an emcee, deejay and producer, J-Live’s music has been a staple of inspiration for listeners of underground hip hop since 1995. His twenty-year discography includes eight full-length albums, four EPs and countless guest appearances. J-Live has been consistently touring internationally throughout his career. His stage show continues to grow with his catalogue and combines his timeless classics with his latest most relevant singles. His one man set as a emcee who deejays for himself and beat juggles while he rhymes, is considered by many to be one of hip hop’s all-time, bucket list, must-see shows.
Toki Wright is an Emmy Award-winning MC/Producer, radio host, actor, arts ambassador, educator, and community organizer who has toured throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, and Asia, and found a place on iTunes Top 100 album charts with his recording A Different Mirror. He has developed many diverse hip-hop education projects including teaching hip hop history and production to young artists in Sierra Leone, and the Hip-Hop Therapy Project, which works with former child soldiers in Northern Uganda.
Wright has released albums through his imprint Soul Tools Entertainment and Rhymesayers Entertainment that charted on the MTV top 50 and the iTunes Hip-Hop charts, among others. Wright is also the Department Head of the United States first fully accredited Hip-Hop Studies program by the National Association of Schools of Music, and recently received an Extra Credit Award from the Hip-Hop Education Center at NYU for Best Transformative Higher Learning Model.
Jaci Caprice Clark captures the spirit of hip hop in rhythmic measure. Raised a Buckeye who currently resides amongst Wolverines, she currently lives just outside of Detroit, Michigan, where she is a member of 5e’ The Foundation, which celebrates women in hip-hop. She also hosts her own internet radio show “The Soul Studieux”, which heralds over 100,000+ listeners to the station, and is dedicated to stimulating the mind, grooving the body, and uplifting the soul through the arts, education, activism, and music.
She is also an accomplished vocalist/producer who released a full-length album entitled “Storms Come” (2007), and an EP entitled “LoveLikeWater” (2012), both which she wrote and produced independently.
She has shared the stage with such artists as Karen Clark-Sheard, Canton Jones, K-Drama, Miz Korona, and many others. Jaci also writes and produces music for a diversity of artists which include poets, vocalists, and hip-hop lyricists.