Courtesy of Keith Shields
The Ohio State Freestyle Rap and Beatbox Club is bringing the beat to campus.
Keith Shields, a second-year in mechanical engineering and president of the Freestyle Rap and Beatbox Club, created the organization about a year ago during his first quarter at Ohio State.
“I was beat boxing for a friend who rapped and there was a group of people sitting around watching because it’s really fun to watch,” he said. “I was like, ‘Hey, this is cool, there’s some interest. This would be a good club to make because everyone likes to watch.'”
The club started out with five members, and within the first two weeks, 15 people had joined the club, Shields said.
Navy Weatherly, a second-year in journalism and speech and hearing sciences, and vice president of the club, was one of the original five members. She said about 30 people regularly attend the weekly meetings this year.
“Because I have been beat boxing since I was 11, when (Shields) told me what his ideas were it was something I was totally interested in,” she said.
Weatherly also notices crowd enthusiasm when she performs.
“Initially I didn’t know it was called beatboxing,” she said. “Then I found out what it was, and it made people really excited.”
Weatherly is one of about five females in the Freestyle Rap and Beatbox Club and the only one who can beatbox, she said.
However, more females attend meetings to watch club members freestyle rap and beatbox.
“A lot of girls come to watch,” Shields said. “They sit in the audience and check it out and laugh because it’s funny.”
Ken Connolly, a fourth-year in operations management and secretary of the Freestyle Rap and Beatbox Club, joined the group because he saw the interest students had in watching others beatbox.
“I realized how fun the meetings were, how much people want to see this kind of thing,” he said.
Connolly hosted a freestyle battle at his house for club members to perform on Nov. 19. The battle was a bracket-style competition and winners received CDs and posters. About 300 people attended the event to watch the battle, he said.
“It was a good atmosphere,” he said. “There was a lot of good energy in the air and a lot of crowd involvement.”
Shields hopes to start having more events for students to attend, he said.
“We’re switching to a more event-based thing,” Shields said. “People don’t feel like rapping every (week). Every two weeks we’re going to do an event or a performance.”
The club has a $20 fee per school year. Paying the fee allows members the possibility of receiving the option to record their own mixtape, Connolly said.