From December 1-19, 2017 hip hop artists Kerwin Young (Beatmaker), Mikia “Miki Vale” Perkins (MC), Ryan “Future” Webb (Dancer), Samuel “Desi Mundo” Mulberry (Aerosol Writer), along with site manager Junious Brickhouse traveled to Egypt for a two-city residency in Alexandria and Cairo. The Next Level Academy, hosted by Alexandria’s Jesuit Cultural Center, offered workshops in beatmaking, emceeing, dance, and aerosol art. In addition to the workshops, jam sessions materialized regularly in the dance room, courtyard, and other parts of campus before class, during breaks, and at the end of the daily workshop sessions. Through these informal jam sessions, everyone involved got to know each other on a deeper level, both as artists and as people.
Next Level’s Team Egypt also collaborated with a number of local artists, including RT Nuba, a group that combines traditional Nubian music with funk, jazz, and hip hop, as well as aerosol artist Amr Diwan. During the artist-educators’ panel on entrepreneurial-skill building, they offered insights into the processes of establishing oneself as an artist and building a career, as well as intellectual property rights.
Over 1,000 audience members attended the Next Level Academy’s final performance in the Great Hall of the world famous Bibliotheca Alexandria. The concert included performances by artist-educators, student-collaborators, the members of RT Nuba, as well as a surprise musical performance by the elders of the Nubian community. The final concert in Cairo was a community-focused performance that featured performances by all the Academy’s student-collaborators in addition to artist-educators. Next Level’s Team Egypt 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.