Don’t Flop has taken its first major step in bringing battle rap into education. This time it wasn’t a teacher vs student battle, but a workshop teaching techniques that will help students with their revision woes. Fahida Begum interviewed Eurgh to find out more.
What were you doing in the school?
We went to the school to help Year 11 students revise the important topics for their GCSEs in our own way.
What skills did the workshop teach the students?
The students were taught various revision methods, mainly centred around repetition. We also discussed other concepts like associating words with images. During the performances, even the most quiet students learned self-confidence and the importance of being supportive to others. I’d say they all left with a basic understand of how to rap, too!
Did battle rap help you while you were studying?
I can honestly say the only way battle rap affected my studies was negatively, when I was watching battles instead of revising for my A-Levels. I am certain that I would have jumped at a chance like this if it was presented to me, though, as I was heavily into rap back then. Also, I always found concentrating in and out of lessons very difficult so something like Don’t Flop Education which is both informative and interesting would have been a blessing!
How would you compare Don’t Flop’s revision method to typical ones?
Don’t Flop didn’t create any new revision methods per se, we more just took the ideas of revision by repetition and combined it with poetry writing. Our own twist was that by splitting them up into opposing teams and making them battle each other presenting arguments, they gained a clearer understanding of the Pros and Cons of the revision topics. Revision can seem quite daunting so to break it down into lyrics and try and remember it all in a fresh way was much more enjoyable for them all.
When did you decide that Don’t Flop should be involved in schools?
I had the first idea for this sometime in 2009. Rap workshops are actually pretty common in the UK but I decided to push forward with this Don’t Flop Education idea because I was yet to see anybody approach it in the manor in which we imagined it. It sounds corny but I know that there is a lot of kids out there not being ‘reached’, and I think that if rap is one of their personal interests then they’ll find our sessions engaging and hopefully helpful at exam times, too.
Why do you want Don’t Flop involved in schools? What would you like to achieve?
My dream is to get Don’t Flop Education sessions running up and down the country every week of the school year. I feel like we have so much to offer schools in the way of helping the children learn a lot in a small space of time and removing the negative stigma associated with revision.
Why did you decide to take Bru C, Double L and Shuffle T?
Bru-C already has experience in this field and it really shone through in this exercise. He has a natural ability to connect with the students and he even had them practicing their verses over the beats we were playing as background music in the workspace. Double L hails from Wolves so it only made sense to make sure we included him in this. Coincidentally, the school that we were teaching at was his old secondary school so it felt like fate. I think he enjoyed being back but with this time with the roles reversed. Shuffle-T has no prior teaching experience to my knowledge but he always has a calm manner about him, and coupled with his strong grasp of writing techniques, this made him right for the job.
What’s the next step for Don’t Flop in schools?
We currently have 3 more sessions in Wolves confirmed, one of them being Sixth Form Creative Writing which i’m sure will be a whole different kettle of fish. We’ve had some interest from a few secondary school teachers in London, too, so we aim to have these sessions booked all over UK in no time. I might even try and start them abroad as well somewhere down the line but that would be a long term goal for now.
Did you find any budding talent for Don’t Flop?
There was definitely a couple of students who’s bravado was through the roof – to the point that they might even put some seasoned Don’t Flop MCs off balance if they mastered the art of rapping too. I rarely feel like anybody under the age of 17 is mentally ready for the pressure of being in the ring, though. Juan was an exception, but on the whole, I would always tell kids of that age to practice in their bedrooms a little while longer until they’re sure they’re ready to get on camera. If any of the kids get back in touch in a few years and they’ve got bars to match the confidence, it would be a great feeling to set them up with a battle, knowing this was where it all began!
Interview by Fahida Begum
Follow Fahida on Twitter: @FahidaTillyB