This week some of our young people have been involved in an innovative Rap Workshop.
Rapper, Ric Flo and producer, Tony "Bones" ran the workshop from their studio in Chatham inviting some of our young people in to creatively express themselves. Ric Flo spent part of his childhood in foster care and works to use his talents to empower young people in foster care through rap music. Since developing his musical craft, he has had experienced growing success with Hip-Hop artisits, Jungle Brown, performing in festivals such as Glastonbury but has since ventured into workshops and public speaking in an effort to change the portrayal of foster care and utilise his experience as a care leaver to help foster kids unleash their creativity.
"It was so rewarding to give back through a passion of mine. It was the seed of knowing that there's value in rap as therapy and that if it's done the right way, it can be a therapeutic experience - just like it was for me." - Ric Flo
The rap workshop ran over two days with Flo hitting the ground running with some immediate confidence building excerices. The young people stood in a circle and began taking turns to rhyme just one word, while the beats had them tapping their feet or bopping up and down. Once everyone was confident, they took turns rhyming two words. By the end of these exercises they had all built up to rhyming two sentences in response to each other. Sometimes they got it wrong or their minds went blank, but they laughed and bonded through the fun and experience.
"We all tried some simple techniques to build up our skills in finding words that rhyme and saying something with them. Even those who struggled with English were able to join in and have fun. Once we’d had a giggle and built up our skills, Ric took the group through a step-by-step guide on how to write a song from your own experiences. From this, all the young people had to contribute two lines to the group song, drawing from their own stories and life experience." - Chris Good, Blue Sky Individual Worker
The group went on to hit the studio to record their projects. Every one worked together to get the best out of themselves and the project. But the rap workshop was not just a chance to have a go on a microphone; this workshop started with confidence building and made everyone feel comfortable. It included step-by-step song writing from life experiences and resulted in a whole group song being written and recorded for the young people to take away. Blue Sky's young people talk about their experience:
“I’ve done rapping and written it all down but I’ve never recorded it. The workshop helped me get better at getting words, rhyme them, switch them around, get the adjectives to get the sentences. It’s different hearing myself on a full track -it’s a bit weird! But I’m used to doing it in my room, but I’m going to start coming down here more often and recording some of my stuff. It’s helped me a lot because I’ve come in the studio and it’s a good feeling, with a smile on my face. Thank you to Ric and Bones, they’ve been a pleasure to work with!” - C, Blue Sky Young Person
"I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve learnt how to stick to the beat and I’ve really enjoyed the experience. I didn’t come in here going “Oh, I know everything about rapping” but I came in and gave it a shot anyway. Just go for it! I’m going to upload the song to youtube and if it hits well, you never know...we may end up forming a crew” - B, Blue Sky Young Person
Lyrics from Do You, Ric Flo:
"It's amazing to know what I create, is resonated with young kids, caught up in a similar mix, connecting first-hand travel ... inspirational energy to run tracks. I can't hold back or loose slack, I know what I represent, I've seen the impact. Each one, teach one, you gotta give back, 'cos you never know how you could change a life with the words that you rap."