Hip Hop Culture Educator, Consultant, and Public Speaker
Sebastien Elkouby’s introduction to Hip Hop culture began in 1981 in a Southern California apartment complex. The nine year-old kid, who had just moved from Paris, France, took to breakdancing as a way to make new friends. However, the young B-boy wouldn’t officially fall in love with Hip Hop until he heard Grandmaster Flash’s 1982 masterpiece “The Message”. In that moment, Sebastien knew that wherever life would take him, Hip Hop culture had to be part of it.
Like his peers, Sebastien participated in various elements of Hip Hop culture, briefly experimenting with Graffiti and DJing but eventually finding his voice through rap and beatboxing. Inspired by Public Enemy, Sebastien recognized Hip Hop’s impact on his generation and began incorporating his passion for history, self-empowerment, and social issues with Hip Hop culture. In 1988, he made a vow to use Hip Hop as a vehicle for social change…and never looked back.
Beginning in the early 90’s, Sebastien wore many hats as a Hip Hop culture advocate:
• MC / producer
• Co-founder of the self-published sociopolitical Hip Hop newsletter, “Do The Knowledge”
• Founder of the self-published newsletter, “The Unsigned Talent Report”
• MC Battle organizer
Sebastien has also worked in the entertainment industry in the following fields:
• Artist Development
• Freelance Writer
Disgusted by a changing music industry, in 2001, Sebastien co-founded the Urban Youth Empowerment Foundation, a community-based organization dedicated to youth empowerment through Hip Hop Culture. The Foundation’s innovative programs and workshops were welcomed by various schools and non-profit organizations throughout Los Angeles. As Sebastien started making a name for himself in the emerging field of Hip Hop education, he became a frequent speaker at various conferences and events on Hip Hop Culture and Education.
In 2006, Sebastien was hired by the Kanye West Foundation to help develop an educational Hip Hop curriculum for the Foundation’s flagship program, Loop Dreams. In 2007, Sebastien created The Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture Program, which was picked up by a public charter school in South Central Los Angeles. Taught by Sebastien, this class was one of the only full-time Hip Hop course in the nation offered to middle/high school students during regular school hours.
The program was visited by Hip Hop legends such as MC Lyte and KRS-ONE and collaborated with companies like Red Bull and Scratch DJ Academy to bring Hip Hop artists to students. Sebastien, now an award-winning educator, began working with the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles to advise educators from around the world on how to use Hip Hop culture as an educational tool.
While maintaining his educational program, Sebastien became a contributing writer for internationally acclaimed RapRehab.com, sharing his views on Hip Hop culture, the music industry, social issues, and current events via media outlets such as Billboard magazine, LA Times, RT-TV, The Grio, Jet Magazine, Ebony.com, and NBC News, as well as various independently produced documentaries.
Leveraging years of experience in the industry as well as a lifetime in Hip Hop culture, Sebastien launched his creative consulting practice, assisting up and coming rappers in using cost-effective strategies to pursue their career.
In 2015, Sebastien launched the podcast Take No Prisoners Radio. Joined by co-host Camille, TNP Radio discusses current events, social justice, and Hip Hop culture while playing the latest in indie and underground rap. In November 2016, TNP Radio launched on The Wire 98.5 FM, Orlando’s new home for Hip Hop and R&B.
In 2017, Sebastien’s educational Hip Hop program was designated as a University of California approved, college-preparatory elective, making it one of few Hip Hop programs with such distinction.
In 2019, Sebastien was invited by the Arts, Media, and Entertainment division of the CTE branch of the California Department of Education to bring Global Awareness Through Hip Hop Culture to schools across California. This groundbreaking initiative will represent the first time in history that Hip Hop education will be offered to middle and high school students as an official statewide elective.
Through it all, Sebastien can be found teaching youth about Hip Hop culture and social justice, coaching aspiring artists, or speaking his mind about a variety of social issues online, on the radio, on TV, or in a city near you!