The History of BeatBoxing

Beatboxing (also beatbox, beat box or b-box) is a form of vocal percussion primarily involving the art of producing drum beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using one’s mouth, lips, tongue, and voice. It may also involve singing, vocal imitation of turntablism, and the simulation of horns, strings, and other musical instruments. Beatboxing today is connected with hip-hop culture, being one of “the elements“, although it is not limited to hip-hop music.It’s roots are born in the beginnings of tribal culture from around the world, using guttural sounds to create rhythm. Early jazz pioneers used the vocal form known as ‘scat’ which also has lended its own inspiration to modern day beatboxing. The term “beatboxing” is sometimes used to refer to vocal percussion in general.  Vocal percussion is the art of creating sounds with one’s mouth that approximate, imitate, or otherwise serve the same purpose as a percussion instrument, whether in a group of singers, an instrumental ensemble, or solo.
The modern form of beatboxing was pioneered by New York artists including Doug E. Fresh and Darren Robinson, imitating the sounds of the synthetic drum machines used in hip hop production at the time. Artists such as Biz Markie, Rahzel, Beardyman and Felix Zenger have advanced the art form by extending the repertoire of percussion sounds that are emulated, the complexity of the performance, and the ability to create impressions of polyphony through the integrated production of percussion with a bass line or sung lyrics.



For a more in-depth look at the History of Beatboxing, check out this great 3 part series by Gavin Tyte on

The Real History of Beatboxing