Beat Boxing keeps teen grounded

By Victoria Tarver
November 3, 2011

Sitting on the steps of Lanshe House with friends developing raps and beat-boxing is how Sam Cummer, sophomore undecided, spends his time outside of the classroom.

“I love to freestyle with Sam because  his beats make the freestyle seem so real,” Adrian Prawl, junior psychology major, said.

For those unaware, beat boxing is a form of music in which a person makes drum beats and sense beats from their mouth.

Cummer started beat boxing at a very young age. He started beat boxing due to his love of hip-hop and R&B.

“While listening to the bombastic sound of people driving cars with huge speakers, I just started trying to reproduce the beat,” Cummer said. “When I first started, I  wasn’t very impressive but I loved it so I didn’t want to stop.”

Cummer remembers when he tried his first song.

“It must have been sometime around 1996 or 1997, when I first tried to mimic  The Notorious B.I.G.’s Hypnotize,” Cummer said. The song turned out to be dull but to him, it was the start of something great.

Some of his motivation to start beat boxing came from watching Michael Winslow, in the movie “Police Academy,” as well as the great beat boxer Doug E. Fresh, who along with Slick Rick, has always been one of his favorite old-school rap artists.

Sam used to play the drums and imitate beats with his childhood friend Joey Silvestri and his little brother.

“I remember one day when my friend was trying to correct my interpretation of a beat, I got a bit defensive and refused to switch my style up,”  Cummer said. “Maybe that’s why I’m good at it today. Either that or I should have taken his advice because  I might already be famous today, but we’ll really never know.”

Many people influenced Cummer but he said no one taught him how to beat box but himself. Cummer spent countless hours learning beat boxing and perfecting his skills.

Cummer kept his talents hidden until last year’s spring “Cabrini’s Got Talent” event.

Last year, Cummer was the winner of “Cabrini’s Got Talent” for beat boxing.

“During the competition, I didn’t even expect to win,” Cummer said.

He competed against the Cabrini College Dance Team and Alyssa Griener, sophomore education major.

“I think the dance team did great but Sam was amazing, I was so happy he won,” Theresa Agro, junior education major and dance team captain, said.

“Cabrini’s Got Talent” was the first show that he performed at, and with his luck, he won on his first try.

Although Cummer is known as one of the greatest beat boxers on campus, he is not able to recreate every beat.

“I’m not much of a singer and the notes are hard to hit, but when I listen to a song multiple times, I can try my hardest to get the beat,” Cummer said

There are a few songs that people request often for him to play such as, Lil Wayne’s “A Milli,” 2Pac’s “Ambitionz Az A Ridah,” Special Ed’s “I Got It Made,” Craig Mack’s “Flavor In Ya Ear,” and Waka Flocka’s “No Hands.”

“The best beat boxing I’ve ever done would have to have been while I was alone,” Cummer said. “That’s when I’ll start making stuff up.”

Many people influenced Cummer to perform at Cabrini’s Got Talent.

“I wanted Sam to perform because he is extremely talented and people should know of his talents,” Jaiquann Beckham, junior education major, said.

Cummer does not know if he wants to perform again on campus or perform at an off -campus venues.

“The reason I won the contest was the fact that my talent was out of the box and original,” Cummer said

“Sam was comfortable on the stage and went into the competition with no fear, Peter Morrison, senior education major, said.

Cummer enjoys beat boxing not because he is good at it but because it is something that relieves stress and brings him enjoyment.

“I like performing for any crowd that wants to see me and will enjoy my talent,” Cummer  said.  “I am not a judgmental guy and I appreciate anybody who can appreciate what I’m doing.”

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Victoria Tarver

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