Beats to Rhyme: Hip Hop Youth Residency

Beats to Rhyme has given Angelo Harper a creative outlet for his music


Courtesy of Angelo Harper

by Finley Stroh, Cub Co-Editor

Beats to Rhyme is a Hip Hop Youth Residency program, a part of the 206 Zulu Organization located in the Seattle Central District. Angelo Harper, junior, has been emceeing and rapping for this program since joining in 2018. He has developed his passion for performing and emceeing along with his previous love of music and has been able to perform at different venues, create music videos and stream his own music. 


Why did you decide to join? How did you find out about 206 Zulu?

At first, I didn’t really plan on being an MC. I didn’t think I’d be very good at it and I wanted to focus more on producing and making beats. But one night I wrote some rhymes, and I showed it to some of my friends. They really liked it, so I decided to stick to MCing. Music has been something that I’ve been really passionate about, especially hip-hop. I remember my first performance when I was in 8th grade. It was down at The Crocodile in downtown Seattle. 


How has your musical performance impacted your speech impediment (stuttering) and public speaking?

When I first started out I was super nervous. I didn’t talk much and I kept to myself. I was really hesitant to share my stuff with other people especially when it came to freestyling. But over time, I started to get more and more comfortable with it and then it was to the point where I wanted to share my stuff with other people. It was really hard for me at first, but I’m really glad I did it. It was also kind of easy for me because I had the support of my friends, my whole group, and my family. Whenever my friends would come to my performances or after my set, I’d have people from the audience telling me how they really liked my stuff. It made it a lot easier for me to get through it, and it made me want to [perform] even more. I noticed that whenever I go up on stage and I perform, my speech impediment goes away and everything starts feeling more natural.


Photo Courtesy of Angelo Harper

What are your goals, hopes, dreams for your band?

I’m hoping that we will be able to do a lot more performances in the future. I’m hoping that it will allow me to put more music out there and put myself out there –not necessarily being a part of the band but putting myself out there as a solo thing. I’m also hoping that people take a look at my story and feel inspired to step outside of their comfort zone, especially people with speech impediments. I know it’s scary, especially for people with speech impediments. I mean it’s hard enough for people to talk in front of a small group without messing up.  But it feels like going up on stage and reciting rhymes and stuff, it may sound out of the question, but in reality it actually can help. So I would just encourage people to give it a try just now because the only obstacle that’s really in your way is yourself. Once you realize that, and you persevere through it, you can really do anything you want.


How has this program influenced you and your life? What opportunities has this band opened you up to?

It’s allowed me to meet new people and talented artists from the Seattle area. As of right now it’s more of a hobby, just something I like to do for fun because I enjoy it.  It’s a great way for me to meet more people and explore other opportunities. I’m not opposed to pursuing it as a career if I go viral somehow.