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USC researchers how do people beatbox
Beatboxing originated in 1970s New York, coinciding with the genesis of hip-hop: The high cost of rhythm machines, or “beatboxes,“ led musicians to start creating their own rhythms with what was freely available –– their mouths. (Illustration/Dennis Lan)

Unpacking the mysteries of beatboxing: Linguists and engineers team up

Beatboxers expertly manipulate their vocal tracts to make sounds unknown in any language. Through the use of cutting-edge MRIs, USC researchers plan to find out how they do it.