After School Matters’ Nu Sound Studio teens recently participated in a beat battle competition hosted by the Chicago Bulls and Bulls guard Coby White. Teens spent two weeks producing unique sounds that were then presented to White and guest judges Music Producer Thelonious Martin and DJ Flipside.
The teens competed to win music equipment and for a chance to have their beats used for Bulls’ highlight mixtapes used on social media and at the games.
“This competition was important to me because I love music and always want to use my platform to give back to the community and help youth,” said White. “It was an amazing experience getting to know the teens, seeing the bright futures they all have and the talent they have been blessed with.”
The competition kicked off in early November when White surprised the teens during their program session, announcing the upcoming beat battle and giving the students inspirational examples for their creations. After countless hours perfecting their beats, the young producers showcased their skills and sounds for the judges, battling it out to be crowned the winner. The judges were impressed with all the teen’s sounds, but Raniyah T. from Epic Academy Charter High School won first place. TJ from Noble-Butler College Prep High School won second place, and De’Kyra S. from Noble-Butler College Prep High School won third place.
“The partnership with the Bulls and this competition has helped showcase what my students have been doing in class, offering them the opportunity to advance,” said After School Matters NU Sound Studio Instructor Hondo Lawrence. “The city has a lot of resources, and if you build connections with the right people, the youth can get more out of this program.”
By partnering with organizations like the Bulls and its players, teens are connected to opportunities, expert mentors, and resources they might not have access to without these partnerships. Through this competition with the Bulls and White, young people learned about career paths in the music industry and gained confidence in their production skills.
“We know that when youth have a vision of their future and something to dream about, they’re less likely to get involved in community violence,” said Adrienne Scherenzel, vice president of community engagement for the Bulls. “This specific music program with After School Matters is great because it gives them a challenge to learn new skills and gives the students an outlet to express themselves.”
The competition allowed these teens to express themselves creatively, build confidence in their skills, and envision promising futures. By investing in youth and providing outlets for expression and growth, initiatives like this cultivate talent and contribute to building safer, more engaged communities. This partnership between ASM, the Bulls, and inspiring figures like White exemplifies the positive impact that collaboration and mentorship can have on shaping the lives and aspirations of young artists.