Major Key nonprofit fuses classical and hip-hop genres

Posted at 10:17 PM, Mar 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-08 23:39:08-05

Tupac's contemporary genre meets classical training with Major Key, a nonproft organization. It's bringing a musical pilot program for kids ages 10-15 to Baltimore this summer.

"When you're learning music, your music instructors play such a huge part in not just your music education, but in your development as a person and as a human and your value system," said Sofia Hailu, a founder of Major Key. "They are such a huge part of your life, and so it's very natural as a performer to want to give back to your community and to want to teach children and play that mentorship role and just be able to invest in people and share what you've learned."

Hip-hop artists and classically trained musicians are collaborating to break boundaries between music genres.

"It's a program that teaches children music with a structure of classical music training," Hailu said. "So theory and harmony and songwriting, basic keyboard skills to be able to write their own songs, but then they'll be able to take those songs and put them to an electronic beat... And they'll be able to mix and master their music and sort of produce and engineer their own music." 

It's not just about the beat. It's about bringing two music genres together in an educational way. That's part of what Tupac envisioned when he was still alive. E.D.I. Don, Tupac's mentee, said the program is exactly what Tupac had dreamed of doing.

"Major Key is a program that needs to happen. It's one of those things that my mentor Tupac was also heavily influenced and interested in," E.D.I. Don said. "It's one of those things that he definitely wanted to do and would've eventually gotten the chance to do if he had not met an untimely demise. So to have this great group of people basically taking the idea and dream that he wanted to do and putting it into action is a pleasure for me to even be here witness to see, and I'm glad to be a part of it."

Tupac spent some years studying theater at the Baltimore School for the Arts. He'll be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month.