Soundshop is a hip-hop music education program that works with local high school students to cultivate independent thinking and celebrate their unique voices. The workshops offer a safe and dynamic learning environment and provide students with opportunities to engage in a multidisciplinary understanding of music through performance, creation, and description. The goal is to motivate students to develop creative thinking, to trust, take risks, and collaborate. 


The workshops feature seasoned local artists and award-winning musicians. One three-hour workshop comprises four main components: (1) introductory performances by guest artists and senior administrators; (2) group discussions focusing on specific topics related to artist’s creative process, narrative construction, and social and cultural critical thinking; (3) breakout groups for lyric writing and beat-making led by artists and senior administrators; and (4) concluding performances by the students that summarize the lessons learned.


Navid Najafi
Nā Hōkū Hanohano Hip Hop Album of the Year award winner in 2012 and 2013, Navid is one of the most respected and highly regarded emcees in Hawai‘i. His smooth flow and intelligent, positive lyrics have been well received by fans and critics alike. A graduate of the University of Hawai‘i, Navid is a dedicated volunteer and youth facilitator in his community. Along with serving as an administrator for Soundshop, he is also a poet facilitator and youth mentor for the non-profit poetry education organization Pacific Tongues.

Scott Ohtoro
A Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-nominated music producer/DJ/musician, Ohtoro is a member of hip-hop band Super Groupers. A former high school math teacher in south Los Angeles and Kapolei, he uses his classroom knowledge to make learning meaningful and engaging. An occasional rapper, he has worked with the likes of Aloe Blacc, DJ Cheapshot, Exile, and Abstract Rule.

Illis It
An independent artist heavily influenced by underground hip-hop, Illis It brings to the table hard-hitting, complex lyrics mixed with a dark yet vibrant style. Often speaking out on controversial topics, he shares a message of unity through music by advocating the right to mental, physical, and emotional freedom.

Hailing from Mākaha on Oahu's west side, Punahele rose to prominence in Hawai‘i's hip-hop's underground scene, eventually becoming Bacardiʻs first Iron MC Champion in 2015. He has performed and collaborated with artists of Hawai‘i’s punk, reggae, and contemporary Hawaiian genres. His style of fusing East Coast lyricism, West Coast flare, and a powerful and soulful Southern style of delivery makes him a force to be reckoned with on stage, while his grassroots viewpoint as a Native Hawaiian gives listeners an authentic local experience.

Born on O‘ahu, Rukka the Magnificent began teaching himself to play instruments and create music as a middle school student, learning production techniques through multiple digital audio workstations in high school, and today produces his own beats, records and mixes his own music, and helps produce others in his own studio. He has a total of seven albums, plus two instrumental beat tapes. He is also a current member of the Universal Zulu Nation, an international organization with the core values of peace, love, unity and having fun spreading positivity through hip-hop. Through Universal Zulu Nation, he stays involved in his community doing outreache like Each One Feed One and conducting music workshops at Honowai Elementary School. Through community work he learns about culture, his kuleana as a teacher and a student, and about himself as an artist, and how to channel his love of music into the next generation.


Teachers can register their students for workshops (limit to 50 per session) by contacting Taylour Chang, Director, Doris Duke Theatre at or 808-532-3033.