An MRI Video Shows How Human Beat Boxing Works From The Inside Out

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MRI scanning machines are often used for more serious medical matters: broken bones, tumors, etc. But now, at least in one case, medicine and Hip-Hop are coming together to show us how impressive the skill of beatboxing is.

In a 2018 video posted by The New York Times, beat-boxer Timo Schnepf (aka Gaucho) was put under magnetic resonance imaging. At 50 images per second, it shows the mechanics of how people make beats using the different parts of their mouth.

This Run-D.M.C. Beatboxing & Rapping Session Is Tougher Than Leather (Video)

In the video, Gaucho performs a beatbox freestyle inside a real-time MRI scanner. It shows his tongue flipping and leaping while the sound of a drum is heard. More broadly, research based on the scans of five different beatboxers was presented on Wednesday (November 7), at the Acoustical Society of America. They hope to find out more about how humans produce language and develop algorithms accurately describing the dynamics of the vocal tract.

Beatboxing has been a part of Hip-Hop culture since its inception and uses a variety of breathing patterns, voices, tongue clicks, and rolls to create the sounds of a drum machine and sampler. Many MCs and producers began as beatboxers, including Doug E. Fresh, Buff Love, and Biz Markie, while others remained as such to evolve the skill. Rahzel, Kenny Muhammed, Nicole Paris, and Eklips are just a few at the pinnacle of the art.