Positive Youth Development Through Hip-Hop Music Production
By Erica Van Steenis
On the surface, Horizon Youth Service (HYS), located in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, resembled many afterschool programs. On a typical day, participants arrived a little before 4:00 pm, greeted HYS youth workers by first name, and caught up on the day. Then they headed into their program activities, where they pursued their interests, collaborated with others, and developed skills. What was special about this space, however, was the kind of creative work young people did: professional-level hip-hop music production using high-end equipment in an in-house recording studio. Daily, participants wrote songs, tinkered on the sound board, constructed beats, collaborated on songwriting, led recording sessions, and sequenced songs for album release.