QUEENS - A lesson on hip hop in a library may appear to be uncommon but it’s the perfect venue if you ask Ralph McDaniels who most know as ‘Uncle Ralph.’
The founder and host of Video Music Box, and Hip-Hop coordinator for the Queens Public Library helped the genre as we know it take flight.
As most uncles in the culture do, he introduced the young audience heading back to school this fall to emerging artist JS, who’s been a Hip-Hop connoisseur in the making since he was old enough to spin records himself.
JS has studied many of the greats of hip-hop, learning from icons like DJ Khaled, Funk Master Flex, DJ Enuff, and his first teacher DJ Diamond Kutz.
"The whole DJ’ing thing came about when I was 4 years old, actually," JS told FOX 5 NY. "He took me to his friend’s house DJ Diamond Kutz, and she had the whole turn table set up. It was so colorful, and I was like Oh shoot this is crazy,"
Doing shows as a DJ at Madison Square Garden at just 12 years old kindled a new passion for performance.
"I was originally DJing for some years now but now I’m trying to get into it from an artist standpoint and really be an artist and entertainer," he told FOX 5.
Now, JS is sharing his love for music, dancing, and DJing with the audience of the future and giving them some school supplies and inspiration heading into the new year.
"I hope it gives them the feeling to you know, chase their dreams, and just know that it's possible. Anything is possible with dedication and hard work," JS expressed.
Hip Hop's pioneers joined JS in the outreach celebrating what they see as a new model for emerging artists to grow their engagement and community at the same time.
"It’s setting a mark and should set a big trend for other artists to follow especially the giving part, the giving back to the community at the beginning of your career so that people recognize you as being giving," said DJ Rob E Rob.
"They’re going to see what he’s doing following his dream, see all the promotion he’s trying to do and that’ll give them an inspiration. You know anybody can make it," added Sal Abbatiello, the founder of Fever Records.
"I think it’s important that younger people learn that Hip Hop 50th is just not for the older generation. It’s about them. There was a kid at like 10 years old he’s part of it. This is part of our culture. This is part of what makes America, America," said McDaniels.
JS is giving back to kids at the same place that gave so much to him and his music--whether its a lyric, a dance move, a backpack, or a little inspiration as he adds his own chapter to the evolution of Hip Hop.
"I want them to stay locked in and stay focused. That’s what I want them to learn today with everything we’ve got going on today. Anything is possible just stay focused, stay locked in and you’re good," JS told FOX 5.