As a mom of a four year old I treasure the idea of passing on my Latin culture, love of travel, international food, books and music. But, what happens when the music you want to share does not have a kid friendly version?

I love Hip-Hop. Unfortunately, what is played on the radio is often not preschool appropriate. Instead of getting trigger finger from hitting the scan button on the radio, I search high and wide for international independent artists who have an age appropriate message. To be honest, my search results have been limited ―until now!

Baby Beats is going to make my life a lot easier.

Jamaal “Black Root” Collier, lyricists, and Max Bent, beat boxer, are multidisciplinary independent artists, active in the Baltimore music scene. The two have a passion for good music and a Hip-Hop frame of mind — but realized the pint-sized hip hop options in Charm City were lacking. In DC? Not so much. The two have been  inspired by D.C.’s Boogie Babes, a live music show organized by two local moms who were looking for opportunities to listen to live music with their kids before their bed time. Boogie 

As fathers and musicians Jamaal and Max wanted to bring the beat  (box) to Charm City. With the blessing of Boogie Babes,  Baby Beats was born in May of 2015. This Hip-Hop based-performance show for families promises to bring musical fun times for adults and kids alike. The first show happens at Single Carrot Theater on Thursday, July 30, 2015.

I caught up with Jamaal and Max in between their independent performances and their jobs at Young Audiences of Maryland, a local non-profit, where they are teaching artists working on art integration, to discuss the Baby Beats debut.

What inspired you to bring Baby Beats to Baltimore?

Jamaal: “If we can’t find it here, why not create it if we are capable of it.”

Max: “I performed in one of Boogie Babes’ venues about a year ago to an audience of 400 people, in the East Market, on a Thursday morning and loved the international energy. I want to be around that energy where both adults and children are having fun.”

Why did you choose to have a Hip-Hop based show?

Jamaal: “Hip-Hop is an amalgamation of a lot of different cultures and genres that are used to channel expression through the culture of Hip-Hop. Some people feel Hip-Hop is restrictive but it is actually limitless. People often think of Hip-Hop as just rap but there are five elements to Hip-Hop: beat boxing, break dancing, graffiti arts, DJing, and MCing (rapping).”

Max: “I came up in the golden era of Hip-Hop where Hip-Hop was positive. Creativity and depth of expression was valued in Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop taught me respect, humility, and to value multiple arts- MCing, DJing, beat boxing, break dancing, and graffiti. You don’t see these positive areas anymore. People specialize in specific areas and break it down into parts. Being dads there is a love for the positive time of Hip-Hop… and passing it on at an early age.”

What should families expect?

Jamaal: “Expect to be engaged, vocal exercises, a lot of improvisation, movement, good for walkers and non-walkers and children of all abilities. Our focus is on engaging all audiences to move, play, have fun be entertained and learn at the same time. It will be a musical collaboration between the audience members and the artists through a range of exploration activities.”

Max: “I want my son to see people interacting with the music. We want to change the way people consume music from a receiver to a collaborator where the performers facilitate an interaction between audience members themselves and also with the performers without holding back. We want a rich experience for young people to come in and feel that, Oh, we are a part of this, and creating opportunities where adults get involved as well.”

What is your hope for the show?

Jamaal: “We are looking to do this monthly but it all depends on the community response. It is a collaboration at a levels. If they respond well to it, we will continue.”

Max: “We are committed to making this a series. We are inspired by the love for our children and what they respond to. Music is what we love to do.”

At a time in Baltimore where there is an undercurrent of what is missing in the community, two local dads step-up to the plate and aim to share their talents, love, and family to bolster Baltimore’s eclectic family and music scene to promote fun, creative, collaboration between children and adults. I am looking forward to finally sharing with my daughter (live!) the roots of Hip Hop- positive, community collaboration at its best — without having to censor. See you there!

Baby Beats Baltimore

see the show

Single Carrot Theater
2600 N Howard St, Baltimore, MD 21218
(443) 844-9253

When: Thursday, July 30th 2015

Time: 10:30 Doors open at 10:00 a.m.

Cost: $5/per person, cash only

Strollers and snacks welcome.