Teaching Artists

Baba Israel

Baba Israel | Hip-hop Artist, Poet, Producer

Artist’s Statement:

As an artist, I work at the intersection of Hip Hop, poetry and performance. I work most consistently with personal narrative and the creative challenge of bringing lived experiences on to the page and stage.  I create work that is immediate and interactive and that calls on the audience to explore with me. I am passionate about balancing humor, poetics, and the desire to tackle both the personal and political.

My father, Steve Ben Israel, was a solo artist who brought together his experience as a jazz musician, theatre performer, poet and stand up comic. His practice evolved into what he called “performance life”. He would develop material at parties, in conversations, on the corner, and utilize his creative impulses in the everyday venues of parks, post offices, subways, and taxis. He found his stories, his jokes, and his humor in these lived experiences and brought them to the stage.

I learned early that an interdisciplinary approach could transform how we create work. My work is also influenced by the Hip Hop aesthetics of sampling and remixing. My father was searching for and creating utopian moments, moments of transformation, of resistance and collective resilience. My own process and philosophy has been greatly influenced by his approach. My father has been a huge inspiration on me as both an artist and a father.

I am interested in how we can consciously bring out our deeper artistic impulses into the world and how this bringing out can influence and generate the content of our work. I work with writing, spoken word, verse, and the creation of text through improvisation, recording, and collaboration. I am currently looking at how I can sample and remix archive material to animate and dialogue with the past.

More about Baba:

Baba Israel is a member of the six-piece, New York-based band, Soul Inscribed.

Soul Inscribed “brews up a medley of Hip-Hop poetics and soulful vocals, propelled by a sonic blend of jazz, funk and dub instrumentals”.  Through a Fulbright Grant they received in 2017, Soul Inscribed has brought their music to sites in: Australia, Turkey, Mexico, Croatia and Tanzania and in 2016, acted as ambassadors of American Music through the U.S. State Department’s “American Music Abroad” program in 2016, touring: Russia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Mauritius.

Experience more of Baba Israel’s work and story on his website.

Past Residencies:


What students and teachers say about Baba:



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