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Funded by Arts Council England, the Power of the Beat is an educational project in partnership with Portsmouth based Rap collective Open Ya Mouth and three local schools - Park Community School in Havant, and Castle View Academy and Admiral Lord Nelson Schools in Portsmouth.

The Project:

Hip Hop is the most dynamic and revolutionary cultural movement of the last 50 years. Originating in the Brooklyn borough of New York it has its roots in African oral history, Blues, Beat poetry and patter song. It embraces music and poetry (Rap), street art, fashion, entrepreneurship and social and political reform. Harnessing Hip Hop as an educational and pedagogic tool is still a challenging idea in the UK but is well established in the USA. The meter of all Rap is 'Iambic Pentameter' - the verse form used by Shakespeare. Rap provides an exciting way of engaging with young people, provides an avenue for self-expression, to examine important issues facing young people and a way of introducing them to poetry and understanding Shakespeare on the curriculum. This was the concept behind The Power of the Beat.

Our Partners:

To deliver the project we needed Rap & Spoken Word poets who were accomplished, young and dynamic. Fortunately, Portsmouth has its own Rap collective, Open Ya Mouth, who were as excited as we were to run a project like this with local schools.

The Rappers are-

Rishky Patel, Omar Mahmood Lagares, Majid Dhana (aka Jidos Reality) and Brighton based guitarist and poet Bassie Gracie

The project is on-going and we hope to extend it both in Portsmouth and in other areas of the country. We hope the success with students in local schools demonstrates the incredible potential of Hip Hop as an educational / pedagogic tool. To help teachers we have produced a FREE educational pack explaining more about Rap and Hip Hop, outlining our project and with lesson ideas for English (Language & Literature GCSE) and PHSE. Our project has also been shared with HHBE (Hip Hop Based Education) experts in the USA

Use our 'Contact Us' page to request your free copy or email

Our Success -

The success of pioneers in Rap-based education such as the UK's Akala and HHBE in the USA, and the talent of our four partners convinced us that this project would work. What we did not foresee was just how exciting and life-changing it would be. With incredible support from the schools, the project turned young people on to Shakespeare and poetry, gave students a voice on issues that mattered to them and engendered commitment, aspiration and engagement.

The Podcast -

But don't take our word for it! In our podcast recorded at the studio in Park Community School, Josh and Omar discuss the success of HHBE and introduce you to the students and their poetry, music and Rap!! 

The podcast is available (FREE) on Spotify, Apple Play and Buzzsprout 

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