THE REAL YOUNG PRODIGYS
At Wheatley Elementary School, a group of 5 fifth graders just wanted to rap in Mrs. Clayton-Taylor’s creative writing class. In this class, it was normal to see students using hip hop to write and express themselves until Mrs. Clayton-Taylor challenged them. The challenge, which was actually a dare, was for the 5-fifth graders to perform at a school function that was going to celebrate Phillis Wheatley. The students accepted the challenge and named themselves the Young Prodigys.
Seven years ago, The Real Young Prodigys (TRYP) emerged from a dare and today is more than an elementary school extra-curricular activity. TRYP, who has been described as a mix between the Wu-Tang Clan and The Mickey Mouse Club by their mentors, is a social justice hip hop group that has had up to 30 members who use their voice to write music that educates and entertains.
Their second song, which gave homage to Muhammad Ali, acknowledged that they would become Ali’s legacy by transforming into the “New G.O.A.T”. TRYP strategically wrote about their own successes and disappointments and paralleled their lives to Ali’s. As they began to evaluate their lives to that of Ali’s, a shift began to take place. They recognized that their world was reflected in the life of Ali’s and used the information in creating a song entitled, The New G.O.A.T which was a passing of the torch to continue his legacy of being great.
TRYP travelled throughout Louisville learning about Muhammad Ali and filmed their video at:
Central High School, where Muhammad Ali went to high school
Ali’s Childhood Home
The Muhammad Ali Museum
The Yum Center, where Muhammad Ali’s funeral took place.
TRYP began to take ownership of this project and also produced the dances that reflected the words of the song. The 30 TRYP students were students from around the city from 2nd-11th grade and continued as TRYP members until many of them graduated from high school.
The NEW GOAT Project is the blueprint for their work today and TRYP students not only write, produce, record, and complete press releases for their music but also embark on national and state-wide field trips to learn about each topic of their songs. Each field trip is a social justice tour that aids in their learning. This formula has enabled TRYP to write and produce songs that have been tied to policy and filmed videos in Alabama (Raparations), at locally-owned Black hair stores (CROWN), and even led a youth march at InJustice Square (Justice 4 All). They are also the first rap youth group in the country to use hip-hop and Tik-Tok to promote and get a city ordinance passed with the help of Councilman, JeCorey Arthur (The CROWN Act). While TRYP understands the importance of social-justice, they are still kids and write music that reflects the beauty of Louisville life and write songs that all individuals can dance to all while hearing positivity.
This year HHN2L plans to take TRYP on two trips. The trips include Washington, DC and Atlanta, Ga. In Washington, students will film their video about the March on Washington, see the MLK National Monument, tour the National Mall and tie the Civil Rights Movement to Atlanta, Ga. by visiting the childhood home of Martin L. King, Jr. TRYP members will also learn about the music industry in Atlanta, Ga., and tour and record at the world-renowned, Patchwerk Recording Studios and visit the TRAP Museum.