What's your favorite type of music? If you're like many kids, the urban beats of hip hop get your feet moving and your body grooving.
Have you ever seen performers make all sorts of drum beats and musical rhythms with nothing more than their voices? That's called beatboxing! It's a form of vocal percussion using only one's mouth, lips, tongue and voice.
Beatboxing is a big part of modern hip hop culture. In addition to drum sounds, beatboxing can involve singing, imitating a record player and making sounds like a wide variety of different musical instruments.
Although the modern form of beatboxing got its start in the 1980s, using your voice to imitate percussion sounds has been popular for a long, long time. Historians believe people in India and China developed their own unique versions of vocal art several thousand years ago.
Beatboxing as we know it today — sometimes called human beatboxing — became popular in the early 1980s. Beatboxing pioneers included Doug E. Fresh, who claims to be the first “human beatbox," Swifty, Buffy and Wise.
In addition to their voices and mouths, some beatboxers use their hands and other parts of their bodies to create an even broader range of sound effects and rhythms. The term beatboxing came from the fact that early beatboxing attempted to imitate the first artificial drum machines, which were called beatboxes at the time.
Today, beatboxing is popular all over the world. Many countries have their own beatboxing organizations that organize national beatboxing championships. There are also worldwide beatboxing championships held internationally each year.
The popularity of beatboxing has also led some people to organize large beatboxing ensembles in an attempt to set a world record. The current Guinness World Record for the largest human beatbox ensemble is 2,081 people set in Dublin, Ireland, on November 14, 2011!