From May 20th to June 7th, 2014, four hip hop artists traveled to Patna, India for 10 days and Kolkata, India for 7 days as part of the Next Level program. MC Sheikia “Purple Haze” Norris, Dancer Ansley “Jukeboxx” Jones, DJ Lester “DJ 2-Tone Jones” Wallace, and Beat Maker Korin “KØ!” Wong-Horiuchi joined together 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. The team enjoyed the trip immensely and was excited by their feature in local media. You can read more about the artists here. See more videos of the team performing here.
Korin “KØ!” Wong-Horiuchi is an arts and technology educator, app developer, and music producer. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, he has played trumpet since he was 11 years old. He started producing in 2001 and graduated from Berkley College of Music with a degree in Electronic Production and Design in 2010.
Korin is the founder of an educational music production non-profit called Beatshop that he started in Boston and brought to the Bay Area in 2011.
He develops music apps and games for his company, Upbeet Games, with a team of designers, programmers, visual artists and sound artists.
He also produces hip hop beats under the names Kaysoh and KØ!.
Ansley “Jukeboxx” Jones is a dance and movement teacher, writer and historian. She began battling, performing, and choreographing in the seventh grade for various cheerleading and dance teams around Augusta, Georgia, and continued into college. She has choreographed for Savannah State University’s hip-hop dance team “The Ampliphiers,” the Savannah State University Collegiate Dance Ensemble, and later, for dance performances at Florida State University.
Her choreographic accomplishments that have been recognized—Ansley was twice named “Audience’s Favorite Performer” at the Third Annual Celebration of Women and Girls event in Tallahassee, Florida, with the second half of the show dedicated to her choreographic suite focusing on the before-and-after experience and the survival of rape. In 2006, Jones won a September-October performance of “Showtime at the Apollo Theater” in New York City.
Her thesis chapter “Bgirls as Drag Kings” was published in an American Dance Anthology edited by Dr. Jennifer Bishop, Dr. Tricia Young and Dr. Sally R. Sommer in the summer of 2014.
Lester “DJ 2-Tone Jones” Wallace is a professional DJ and educator residing in the Washington, DC, area. On the performance side, 2-Tone has shared the stage and spun alongside the likes of De La Soul, Brand Nubian, Kendrick Lamar, Pete Rock, Raheem DeVaughn, Large Professor, Jabba (HHP), Oddisee, Algebra Blessett, Asheru (from Unspoken Heard), and harmonica virtuoso Frederic Yonnet.
Since 2005 he has worked with a hip hop-based non-profit organization, Words Beats & Life, Inc. to engage and instruct youth through the art form of DJing and the game of chess. For more than seven years, 2-Tone has served as a resident DJ and co-host for Ill Street Grooves, a progressive hip hop radio show on WPFW 89.3 FM (Pacifica Radio) in DC; and in 2013 began hosting a second show called Cut Convention on WLVS Radio online (www.ListenVisionLive.com).
Along with Gerald Watson, 2-Tone created Shaolin Jazz: a multifaceted project that explores the musical and cultural parallels between jazz and hip hop. Through this project he has performed and presented at the University of Illinois, Tulane University, Delaware State University, Boston College, the University of Nebraska, Temple University, and many other notable institutions of higher learning across the country.
Sheikia “Purple Haze” Norris was born in the birthplace of hip-hop: the Bronx. Currently residing in Newark, New Jersey, Purple Haze challenges audiences with a natural ease and a voice that inspires audience movement and positive thoughts. Purple Haze has mastered her own rich style of spitting lyrics with both power and substance, and she is recognized as a skilled performing and teaching artist.
She has been a Ladies First! Fund grant recipient, a lead artist in NJPAC’s Hip-Hop Institute Summer Program, an Edutainment Program Facilitator & Recruiter for the Hip-Hop Culture Center, a member of the Toni Blackman’s Rhyme Like A Girl Collective (Freestyle Union), and an up and coming curator for hip hop art and performance.
She is currently recording her highly anticipated EP, “pH Balance”.