From April 29th to May 13th, 2017, hip hop artists Toki Wright (MC), Jean-Jacques “J-Live” Cadet (DJ), Baba Israel (Beatboxer), and Nancy “Asia One” Yu (Dancer), along with site manager JaciCaprice, traveled to Zagreb, Croatia as part of the Next Level program. Next Level’s local partner for this residency was Tala Dance Center. Through the Next Level Academy, artist-educators held workshops in beatboxing, emceeing, dance, and DJing, focusing on developing artistic skills and promoting creative self-expression among student-collaborators. Discussions of culture, conflict transformation, entrepreneurship, and history were also integrated into the instruction.
Throughout the residency, the Next Level artist-educators participated in several community events, including visits to local schools and a workshop at Zagreb’s Radionica School for DJs. In addition to serving as the headlining act for U.S. hip hop artist Lord Finesse (Next Level Team Russia 2019), the Next Level team also held discussions and collaborated with rapper SignMark, a deaf rapper and activist from Finland. Team Croatia 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.