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Ideations of Potential: Shodekeh's Innovation Lab of Embodied Scholarship & Hip-hop Imagination

Identifier: MSS-0031
Click here for a scan of the "Human Instrument" article.
Click here for a scan of the "Human Instrument" article.

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Ideations of Potential: Shodekeh's Innovation Lab of Embodied Scholarship & Hip Hop Imagination, is the first Hip Hop-based collection to enter the archives of not only the Towson University Special Collections division of the Albert S. Cook Library, but also the first throughout the University of Maryland school system, the state of Maryland and the very first living archive of a professional Beatboxer anywhere in the world. With the culture of Hip Hop entering it's 50th year of existence in the year 2023, the timing of such an endeavor couldn't be more in tune with Hip Hop's current state of evolution.

As a living archive, this very unique collection will be segmented into three accessible units by the students, staff and faculty of Towson University and the larger local, national and global community of patrons, falling under the heading known as The Autodidactic Structure:

1.) The Living Archive of Innovation; Illuminating the past professional and personal life of Dominic Shodekeh Talifero.

2.) The Living Lab of Innovation; Where Shodekeh will conduct an ongoing series of oral tradition-based conversations, discourses and interviews with colleagues, mentors, students, staff and faculty known as "The Case Studies". This will be done by catalyzing a review of triumphs and mistakes in Sho's past, and will serve as the gateway to adding new material into the archive as Sho' continues to move forward (after all, I'm only in my early 40's and don't plan on ending this journey of creativity and discovery anytime soon).

3.) The Living Capstones of Innovation; This section of the archive will serve as the "virtual MFA / Ph.D" platform of Shodekeh's collection, where his best and brightest brainstorms, ideas and future endeavors can be cultivated by visits and sessions held through "The Case Studies". The projects born here in this part of the archive will be classified as "Capstone Vision Projects", which will entail a level of work, focus, research and determination equal to or surpassing that of the pursuit of an MFA or Ph.D, while still maintaining the purity of an autodidactic / self-taught approach, which is reflective of Beatboxing's and Hip Hop's natural modalities of self-directed learning and self-sustained creativity.

All three sections of this archive working within a creative and constructive feedback loop will ultimately result in this endeavor serving not only as a living archive for Shodekeh, but also as "lifelong fellowship", or as a form of dynamic "research tenure", within his own life time and hopefully into future generations. For the time being, only the Living Archive of Innovation is available for scholars and patrons to peruse, but as we continue our work, and Shodekeh contributes more and more materials, the additionals sections will open and Shodekeh's vision and output will be more thoroughly showcased.

The establishment and ongoing cultivation of this living archive is also serving as the 2020 - 2021 capstone project of Shodekeh's current position as the first appointed Innovator-in-Residence of the Towson University College of Fine Arts & Communication, following the success of his 2019 - 2020 capstone project of recording Bady Dorzhu Ondar's debut solo album at WTMD, 89.7 FM, Towson University radio, which also features the world renown Tuvan Throat Singing ensemble Alash, MacArthur Fellow Joyce J. Scott, Wendel Patrick & Erik Spangler of Baltimore Boom Bap Society, Eze Jackson, Jasmine Pope, Rafaela Dresin of Classsical Revolution and Shodekeh himself as one of the executive producers and guest musicians of the album.

"On a very personal note, I would also ask the reader to take your time and carefully consider these next few words, as they may prove to be potentially unsettling. As a survivor of black youth suicide ideation, something I have battled twice as a child, in my 20's and again recently in 2020 during the ongoing convergence of pandemics of Covid-19 and systemic racial injustice at the hands of global white supremacy, and by taking inspiration from the epiphany of potential of Buckminster Fuller as he turned his life around from his own battle with ideation and began his own living archive among other many endeavors, this archive will be dedicated to the memory of my great aunt Josephine Talifero, who did not survive her bout with suicide ideation. This dedication is also a promise to myself, the memory of my great aunt and to all those around the world who struggle within this ongoing phenomenon of tragedy and loss. In other words and henceforth, my relationship with my human body will be used not just as an instrument of musical creativity and excellence, but also as a powerful and dynamic tool to bring forth awareness of the epidemic of black youth suicide and ideation here in the United States and around the globe."

- Shodekeh Talifero.


  • Creation: 2021


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access. This collection is open to the public.

Conditions Governing Use

Towson University Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is the owner of the original materials and digitized images in our collections; however, the collection may contain materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials. Consult with SCUA to determine if we can provide permission for use.


With over 30 years of experience, Dominic “Shodekeh” Talifero continues to make musical strides as a groundbreaking beatboxer, vocal percussionist and breath artist who pushes the boundaries of the human voice within and outside the context of Hip Hop music and culture. He currently serves as a musical accompanist and composer in residence for Towson University’s Department of Dance and is the founding director of Embody, A Festival Series of the Vocal Arts, which strives for artistic and cultural convergence through a variety of vocal traditions from the worlds from opera and throat singing to the many forms of vocal percussion.

Beatboxing is a form of vocal percussion born within the world of Hip Hop and easily exists as one the most highly advanced vocal art forms to known to humankind. Imitating and often replacing a drum set, drum machine, or drum loop through a series of vocal effects or percussive sounds primarily produced by the larynx, nasal, and oral cavities, Beatboxing exemplifies the Hip Hop philosophy of creating meaningful artistic expressions with limited resources at its most extreme; it replaces the source of the timeless Break Beat with the Human Voice, becoming a ubiquitous feature of the American city experience and soundscape.

In previous years Talifero served as music faculty of the American Dance Festival at Duke University and has served as the chosen musician for a variety of master class experiences led by such luminaries as Ailey II of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance Ensemble, and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. In his close relationship with the world of dance, he has acquired a wealth of experiences of applying his vocal and rhythmic skills in the movement context of ballet, capoeira, fire movement, belly dancing and a wide range of modern dance techniques pioneered by such legends as Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, and Lester Horton.

Over the years, Talifero has moved from Beatboxing’s Hip Hop roots to explore innovative and convergent collaborations with a wide range of traditional artists. He serves as the Beatboxer and vocal percussionist for the globally renown Alash, one of the world’s leading Tuvan Throat Singing ensembles, and features on their recent Smithsonian Folkways album release of Achai; has become a recent collaborator with the exquisite Silkroad Ensemble based at Harvard University and founded by legendary cellist Yo Yo Ma; and is serving as the resident Beatboxer and cultural ambassador of the local Baltimore chapter of Classical Revolution.

Talifero has also become more immersed in recent years within the realm of Hip Hop-inspired Science Communication, which includes creating the math and music based course Beatbox Algebra in collaboration with the Homewood Arts Center of Johns Hopkins University; serving as the host for World Voice Day presented by the Johns Hopkins Voice Center; and serving as a panelist and musician for The Neuroscience of Art, a weeklong conference presented by the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg, Austria.Beyond the stage and lights of his work, Talifero also serves as an active board member of the Asian Arts and Culture Center of Towson University and the Baltimore Sister Cities Program of the City of Baltimore’s Office of the Mayor.


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Language of Materials


Guide to Ideations of Potential: Shodekeh's Innovation Lab of Embodied Scholarship & Hip-hop Imagination
In Progress
John Esh
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Towson University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Albert S. Cook Library
8000 York Rd
Towson MD 21252 United States