Few YouTube networks are as consistent as PBS Digital Studios, which routines brings fascinating channels under its wing, and the freshest addition to the roster is no different. Beat Making Lab is a newly minted channel where two beatsmithing hip-hop missionaries bring their craft to various third-world countries.
Beat Making Lab follows Pierce Freelon and the Apple Juice Kid, who are not Old West gunfighters but rather a pair of UNC faculty members who work for the titular organization, which partners with nonprofits to create sustainable hip-hop production studios all over the third world. Throughout the course of the web series, Freelon and the Kid will travel to Congo, Panama, Senegal, and Fiji.
The third best thing about Beat Making Lab is the incredible video quality, which adds color and life to an otherwise dusty landscape. The second best thing about it is watching local youngsters plink away at keyboards as they discover the bumpin’ art of beat making. But the best thing about the series (and really, it’s not even close) is the Apple Juice Kid’s appearance. He looks less like a world-renowned hip hop producer and more like your dad. It’s striking.
In addition to travelogues, Beat Making Lab will feature music videos, tutorials, sample beats, and contests for talented viewers. While I can’t craft a beat to save my life, I’ll be sure to keep an eye on this channel. PBS Digital Studios has yet to disappoint me, and I don’t see how Beat Making Lab could change that trend.