From October 6 to October 21, 2018, hip hop artists Melanie Aguirre (Dancer), Kevin “DJ Kevie-Kev Rockwell” Carson (DJ), Lance “LJ…Art” Johnson (Graffiti/Aerosol Artist), Corey “iLLspokinn” Lima (MC), and site manager JaciCaprice traveled to Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey as part of the Next Level program. The artists offered workshops in emceeing/rapping, DJing, dancing, and graffiti art in partnership with Ankara’s CerModern Arts Center, a modern art institute committed to public engagement. Next Level’s Turkey residency included several cultural exchange activities, including a studio session with Ankara-based DJ Suppa, a collaborative recording session at Studio Tunali with noted Turkish hip-hop artist Evren Besta, several outreach and community events, and the creation of an “Inspiration Wall,” which is now on permanent display at the Turkish-American Association.
The Next Level Academy’s final concert featured performances by the artist-educators and their student-collaborators. Approximately 300 community members attended the performance, along with Ambassador John Bass, the National News (NTV), and other local media outlets. Next Level’s Team Turkey is part of a larger cohort of American MCs, DJs, beatmakers, and hip hop dancers seeking to build global community through hip hop culture.