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A father passes along the joy of beatboxing to his daughter


It's Friday, which is when we hear from StoryCorps. And today we hear from a father-daughter beatboxing duo. In the 1980s, Ed Cage fell in love with beatboxing, which was part of the St. Louis hip-hop scene. His daughter, Nicole Paris, inherited that love, and they talked it over at StoryCorps.

ED CAGE: When Mom was pregnant with you, I would get right up on her stomach and beatbox to Mom's belly - (beatboxing) - and you would feel the vibration.

NICOLE PARIS: (Laughter).

CAGE: And when I did that, you would just shake. And one of the greatest joys of my life was actually seeing you being born.

PARIS: Were you prepared at all to be a father?

CAGE: No, no.

PARIS: (Laughter).

CAGE: I wasn't prepared. I was 16 when we had your brother. So when I said, OK, I'm going to do this, I threw everything into it.

PARIS: You had, like, two, three - how many jobs did you...

CAGE: No, I had four jobs. I had so many jobs at one time, Nicole...

PARIS: Four jobs?

CAGE: ...I was going to the wrong job.

PARIS: You know, you being away so much growing up, that was hard.

CAGE: Yeah, I didn't want to be the dude that came in and left. So I had to figure out how I was, as a father, going to connect. And you would always like to hear me beatbox.


CAGE: So you used to sit up on my lap, and you would just bang your head trying to keep that beat going. I remember one time you was making a whole bunch of crazy sounds and I told you, I don't know what that is. But then I had to check myself and say, well, whatever you want to do, Nicole, that's what you do, OK? And now you go to sleep beatboxing. When you wake up, we're beatboxing - when we're cooking, when we're driving. So when you and I communicate with each other, we can do it by beats.

PARIS: Yes. Let's say, if I don't agree with something that you're doing and I feel angry...

CAGE: Why you just roll your eyes at me (laughter)?

PARIS: Because you make me mad. I'll do more of a base beat, kind of like (low-pitched beatboxing).

CAGE: Yeah. I can tell when you're not feeling good, 'cause your beats are - (low-pitched beatboxing) - real down.

PARIS: Yeah.

CAGE: But when you are feeling like, oh, I'm ready to take on the world, you (high-pitched beatboxing).

PARIS: Right. Pops, I love the bond that me and you share.

CAGE: You know, baby, it's something, Nicky. To see you go out into the world continually trying to be the best that you can be, I just absolutely love that about you. And as a father, that's all I can ask for.


INSKEEP: Ed Cage speaking and beatboxing with his daughter, Nicole Paris, in St. Louis. You can see an animation of this story at

(SOUNDBITE OF BEATBOXING) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Jey Born
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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