Daily Drip

Watch: How a Handicapped Boy from Chengdu Found Himself Through Beatboxing

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This story is both touching and undeniably dope.

A short documentary was just released by Swissbeatbox, the leading YouTube channel for the international beatboxing community. It focuses on Li Erkun, a 15-year-old kid in the southwestern city of Chengdu (a leading city in China’s hip hop scene), and how he came to discover himself as a beatboxer.

Beatboxing, in case you’ve been living under a rock, is a way of using your mouth to mimic the sounds of a drum beat. The lesser-seen component of hip hop culture has found itself as the punchline of jokes in the past – but the documentary gives the viewer a peek behind the curtain at the friendships and stories that compose the worldwide community behind the art.

Li, bound to a wheelchair, explains how beatboxing breathed new energy into his life. He started studying on his own before finding his teacher, a foreigner named Dmitrii. The video paints a startlingly sincere portrait of how something obscure like beatboxing can go on to define a person, and the connections they make with the world around them.

Check it out for yourself and see what we mean.

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip-hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers.

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