BIRMINGHAM, AL — Using music to open educational doors to children is not a new concept, but introducing the elements of hip-hop and its form of expression is a new concept brought to Birmingham kids by nationally acclaimed hip-hop artists Shaheed and DJ Supreme.
Knowledge, Rhythm and Understanding is an educational initiative launched by the Birmingham-based artists that empowers youth by teaching them the core elements of hip-hop and to use the medium to express themselves, gain confidence and develop an understanding an appreciation of the art form.
“It was the pandemic that caused us to bring this concept to life and put it into action,” DJ Supreme said. “We had this idea for a while now and we took this opportunity to make it work.”
During a demonstration Wednesday at Avondale Elementary School, the artists gave kids a taste of what KRU does in its program, by first introducing the core elements of hip-hop though “peace, love, having fun and unity.”
“This is a great way to get these children thinking bigger thoughts,” said Birmingham Board of Education member Mary Boehm, who was in attendance for the KRU demonstration at Avondale. “And to be able to bring those thoughts to life through this form of expression.”
“We want them to learn not just how to make music, but to use this in other aspects of life,” Shaheed said. “This is a confidence builder, and its a way to experience something most of these kids never have. You open yourself up to criticism as well as praise. You express your thoughts through music, but you also unlock an element of creativity that you may have never known you had.”
Shaheed said learning the art of hip-hop also gives students the awareness of setting goals, achieving those goals and learning how to thrive amid adversity, similar to playing team sports.
“Everybody doesn’t have to have the same skills,” Shaheed said. “But you have the same goal.”
KRU is also an educational initiative that brings awareness to the historical aspects of hip-hop culture, with the objective of instilling in the kids an appreciation and understanding of the art and music they love through education, demonstration and application, and to express themselves in a positive manner that will assist them in their lives mentally, physically, emotionally and financially.
The ultimate goal, as well, is to provide workshops for those who wish to pursue and preserve the hip-hop art form in a professional capacity.
KRU currently has a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the project, and anyone wanting more information can email [email protected] or call 205-230-3123.