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Ex-Rap Producer Trains to be a Composer in KC

Posted: Apr 28, 2013 11:06 AM by Associated Press

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Starting as a teenager, Kerwin Young helped craft the sound of Public Enemy, the latest rap group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Now the 43-year-old is shaking up the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, where he's honing his skills composing orchestral music.

As a former member of Public Enemy's Bomb Squad production team, Young didn't exactly have a traditional musical background. While he could compose his own orchestral scores, his training didn't come from a childhood of violin and piano lessons. It came from working as a disc jockey, producing hip-hop and poring through music books to figure out what he didn't know.

The composition program says Young has led it to revise admissions standards and how it trains students.

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