From September 4th to 22nd, 2017, hip hop artists Shasta “Klevah” Matthews (MC), Edson “Bboy House” Magana (Dancer), Zephyr Ann Doles (DJ), Tarik “Konshens The MC” Davis (MC), and site manager Kane Smego traveled to Meknes and Casblanca, Morocco as part of the Next Level program. Next Level’s Morocco residency was conducted in partnership with two prominent hip hop festivals— Freestyle Maroc Urban Dance festival in Meknes and L’Boulevard Music Festival in Casablanca— as well as Dar Al Shabab youth center. In addition to conducting workshops in emceeing, DJing, and dance through the Next Level Academy, the Next Level artist-educators collaborated with traditional gnawa musicians and local hip hop artists in a number of performance settings, including recording sessions, jams, and a street show.
Throughout their workshops, the artists incorporated tips on entrepreneurship, offering advice on ways to develop a career as an artist, polish one’s craft, form collectives and build community, and organize and host events. In the final performances, artist-educators, student-collaborators, and local musicians rapped, beatboxed, sang, and danced together on stage, creating a powerful, energetic atmosphere. Team Morocco 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.