Beatboxing has been around in some form for thousands years. In fact the human body was most likely the first musical instrument used in ancient African tribal ceremonies and even in the Chinese vocal art Kouji. But the true art of beatboxing didn’t really take form until the 1980s when someone made the brilliant decision to use a microphone to project their vocal beats and hip-hop music was never the same. Here we countdown the top 10 beatboxers of all time. An accomplishment made all the more significant when you realize that literally anyone born with a vocal chord has what it takes to make beats yet only these 10 can truly be called the masters of beatboxing.
10. Random Guy In Florida Blows Crowd Away
At Beatbox Effex in Tampa Florida in 2003 some random guy steps out of the crowd and on to the stage. Judging by his every day normal white guy appearance (white tshirt, jeans, boring pair of tennis shoes) I think the crowd was really expecting him to ask for a ride home. Instead he drops some of the best beats for an amateur I’ve ever heard and the crowd was blown away.
9. Middle School Estonian Kid Destroys Talent Show
Like the guy in video #10 I dont think anyone expected much out of a white Estonian middle schooler who obviously frequently shops at J. Crew. Expectations were so low that people keep coming on stage wondering what’s going on and fiddling with stage props. In the end he put on quite a show and hopefully walked away with first prize.
8. Joel Turner 2005 World Champion of Beatboxing
In 2005 the World Championship of Beatboxing was held in Leipzip, Germany. Participants came from all over the world, and included Tom Thumb(Australia), White Noise(Ireland), Roxorloops(Belgium), Poizunus(Canada), Joel Turner (Australia) and Faith SFX (UK). After several heats of beatbox battles, the final was held between Roxorloops and Joel Turner. The five judges couldn’t decide a winner so they asked for one last extra round after which Australian Joel Turner was crowned 2005 Beatboxing World Champion.
7. Shlomo Explodes Onto the Scene
British beatboxer Shlomo is best known for his pioneering beatbox techniques including his 2-mic trancebox routine which won him widespread respect and cred within the international beatbox community. Since establishing himself as one of the world’s best beatboxers Shlomo has performed with many famous musicians including Bjork and London hip-hop act the Foreign Beggars. One of his collaborations was chosen as the opening ceremony song for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
6. Kenny Muhammad
Also known as The Human Orchestra, Kenny Muhammad is known for using “the wind technique” which relies heavily on breathing as a main element of the beatbox routine. Kenny’s earned his nickname after performing the song Kenny’s Joy with the New York Philharmonic. He has collaborated with many established artists including Stevie Wonder, The Gap Band, Public Enemy and Matisyahu.
5. Amazing French Beatboxer
Don’t know his name, don’t know what show this is, all I know is that this guy is French and he is amazing. The way he seamlessly goes from Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean to Usher “Ya!” is simply incredible. I still don’t know when he gets a chance to breathe.
4. The Fat Boys
No list about the best beatboxers would be complete without The Fat Boys. Hailing from Brooklyn this early hip-hop trio were truly pioneers of beatboxing as we know it today. Buff Love was the main beatboxer of the group and was a true innovator in not only beatboxing but hip-hop as a whole. These guys really put beatboxing in the forefront of rap and helped popularize it during the infancy of rap.
3. Doug E. Fresh
Doug E. Fresh is on a short list of people who are both influential as rappers and beatboxers. Who doesn’t know the words to “La Di Da Di”? And his song “The Human Beatbox” is a gem for all those who aspire to be as talented as he is with beatboxing. In this clip he keeps the party jumping with some crazy raggaeton style beats.
2. Biz Markie
Biz Markie is another well respected rapper and beatboxer. Both he and Doug. E Fresh broke out around the same time in the mid-80’s and his single “Just a Friend” brought Biz mainstream as well as his beatboxing abilites. Here is a video of him just going nuts on stage and creating a melody of a bunch of different songs, see if you can name them all!
Rahzel simply has to go to the top. Being a member of the Roots, he is really the only modern beatboxer that is in a popular hip-hop group today. His ability is incredible, and when he is on stage by himself, having a DJ is almost pointless. Here he is with “If Your Mother Only Knew” live, this is the song that all beatboxers today know how to do, and as the other videos have already shown, often try to replicate but none are ever as good as Rahzel.