Renowned Producer, Engineer Prince Charles Alexander Reflects on 50 Years  of Hip-Hop

Renowned Producer, Engineer Prince Charles Alexander Reflects on 50 Years of Hip-Hop

The Berklee professor and multiple Grammy Award winner will go in-depth on the history and the evolution of hip-hop production across five decades

BOSTON, MA (AUGUST 3, 2023) – Berklee College of Music marks a milestone year for hip-hop with the event Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop: An Interview with Prince Charles Alexander, taking place on August 11 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in The Loft at 939 Boylston Street, Boston.

The conversation spotlights Berklee professor Prince Charles Alexander, a three-time Grammy Award-winning recording and mixing engineer who is one of the most sought-after producers in the history of hip-hop and R&B, with more than 40 platinum and gold certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America. As a professional in the industry for over three decades, Alexander has accrued a wealth of frontline experience and nuanced insights from both his time as a music producer and audio engineer with Bad Boy Records, the label founded by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, where he worked with such superstar artists as Combs, The Notorious B.I.G., and Mary J. Blige.

“Innovation is really at the heart of what hip-hop is and it always seeks to find that bleeding edge,” said Alexander. “Hip-hop artists and producers have always embraced new technology – turntables, the drum machine, synthesizers, samplers, autotune, melodyne and all the technological advancements that are now common in the modern recording process. Hip-hop is the genre that sought that creative intersection of a powerful message and the implementation of new technology. Conversations like this symposium are necessary to bring clarity to how hip-hop informs our understanding of mainstream music and contemporary production.”

Jonny Guekguezian B.M. ’23, a former talent ambassador in Berklee’s Career Center and co-founder of the Berklee Hip-Hop Club, will interview Alexander and serve as the moderator for the discussion, which includes an opportunity for audience members to contribute questions. The conversation is partially framed around themes from Alexander’s book Inside the Beats, an educational and instructive dive into the technological evolution of hip-hop from its origins in the Bronx to its many modern iterations across the world.

Alexander teaches several courses in Berklee’s Music Production & Engineering department and for Berklee Online including Hip Hop Production for Records, a focused examination of the technical skills used in contemporary studios that compliments other curriculum offerings such as Hip-Hop Roots and Routes, Hip-Hop Writing and Production, Hip-Hop Music Education, and Hip-Hop for Social Change Ensemble. Alexander seeks to advance the codification of the hip-hop genre and its key musical and production elements as part of his larger mission to drive the expansion of hip-hop as a legitimate and critical piece of the general academia and performing arts education landscapes.

“Right now, hip-hop is not embraced as it should be from the standpoint of academia,” said Alexander. “One of my goals as an academic and educator is to define a unified language of hip-hop that can be integrated into the offerings of music education and other institutions as part of their STEM curricula. The evolution of hip-hop mirrors the evolution of the broader creative and entrepreneurial spirit of music. We can learn so much from hip-hop when we are trying to figure out where we came from, what we want to do, what we want to achieve as artists and producers, and how we can get there.”

This event is free for the general public and registration is currently open. For more information and to register, please visit the event page.

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