From December 1 to December 19, 2017 five hip hop artists traveled to Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt as part of the Next Level program. Beatmaker Kerwin Young, Dancer Ryan “Future” Webb, Writer/Aerosol Artist Desi Mundo, and MC Mikiea “Miki Vale” Perkins joined team manager Junious Brickhouse 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.
Kerwin Young is a composer, multi-platinum producer, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame cultural ambassador. His portfolio spans multiple musical genres, including classical, opera, ballet, world, soul, R&B, hip hop, afro-beat, reggae, rock, jazz, dance, and country.
Kerwin has produced music for a wide variety of artists, including Public Enemy, Eric B. & Rakim, Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes, 2 Live Crew, and Mobb Deep. He also collaborated and produced for iconic artists such as Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, and Bobby Brown.
Kerwin earned Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, where he studied with Chen Yi, Bobby Watson, and Zhou Long. He has held composer residencies with Spelman College, Midwest Chamber Ensemble, and the internationally acclaimed Chicago Modern Orchestra Project.
Ryan “Future” Webb is the education director for Urban Artistry, Inc., a cultural ambassador, and community leader. He mentors people of all ages, creates dance curriculum, conducts dance research, performs, lectures, and actively participates in cultural exchange, community building, preservation, and innovation.
Mentored by Rashaad Pearson and Junious Brickhouse, his dance style has also been influenced by artists such as Damon Frost, Steen Koerner, Thomas Herodt, Lock Smith, and Dr. Rico. Taught to be three-dimensional, culturally-driven, and fearless as an artist; Future has innovated and inspired others in multiple styles of movement such as Tutting, Popping Ground Dance, Jookin, Strutting, Dance Fusion, and Routine styles.
Throughout his career as a dance professional, his art has brought him to various countries such as Korea, Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, France, England, Germany, Canada, Poland, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, and Finland.
Desi Mundo is the founder of the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP). Under his leadership, CRP has produced more than 250 murals in the Bay Area, Chicago, Albuquerque, and Bologna, Italy. As an artist, he has collaborated with influential aerosol artists ZORE, P.H.A.S.E.2, VULCAN, and RAVEN.
Desi also has a long history of community organizing and public art advocacy. He received the Rising Leaders Fellowship from the Youth Leadership Institute in 2005 and has been awarded the Individual Artist grant from the City of Oakland eight times. He has worked with numerous non-profit and community organizations such as United Roots and Phat Beetz and is a member of the Technical Advisory Council for Urban Tilth’s North Richmond Farm and the Advisory Council for the Youth Media Project.
For his activism, volunteerism, and artistic contributions, Desi is also a recipient of the Best of the Bay award from East Bay Express.
Mikiea “Miki Vale” Perkins is an artist, DJ, educator, event producer, and lifelong student of hip hop. Miki Vale’s unique soundscape incorporates hip hop and soul.
Her EP, “The Good, The Bad and the Lovely,” was nominated in 2013 by the San Diego Music Awards for Best Hip hop album. Miki co-hosts an online radio show, The Lovelight Show, and is the touring DJ for San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, fusing hip hop and Shakespeare. Miki is finishing her latest EP, “A Spirit Experience,” and a collaborative album with artist Kandi Cole, “Black Crown.”
Miki Vale has also co-created physical and virtual spaces for women’s presence and engagement with hip hop. In these spaces, she explores the impact of hip hop culture on race, class, and gender, as well as cypher videos and other multimedia archiving women in hip hop.