Samuel J. Sellers (aka Rabbi Darkside) is a Buffalo-born Brooklyn-based MC/DJ/Beatboxer/Educator . His dynamic live show is world-renowned, blurring the lines between Hip Hop, Jazz, Folk and Poetry, filled with multi-elemental improvisations and genre-bending collaborations. From Brooklyn to Budapest, Austin to Amsterdam, Paris to Prague, and Brasil to Uganda, he has riveted crowds with his unique brand of stage-stealing Hip Hop. His new album, Prospect Avenue, topped the U.S. Hip Hop Radio Charts (#4 on CMJ Hip Hop Charts, #1 on College Radio Charts Hip Hop) while receiving rave reviews. It includes feature contributions from Da Beatminerz, Nickodemus, Homeboy Sandman, Illspokinn & DJ Rob Swift, as well as some of NYC’s finest musicians.
Darkside, the acclaimed MC, is known for his first-class party rocking and freestyling (18-time Freestyle Mondays Off The Head Gameshow Champ; EOW 2010 Challenge of Champs Co-Winner). He is consistently called upon to host and feature at NYC’s premiere events alongside musical legends, Victoria’s Secret Angels and Hollywood screen stars. Recent highlights include headlining 2015 Blue Note Jazz Festival, traveling to Kampala, UG as a U.S. State Department Cultural Music Ambassador, 2013 CMJ Festival, 2013 WNYC Battle of the Boroughs, and headlining the 2012 Atlantic Antic. His reputation continues to grow beyond the 5 Boroughs, as 2015 saw the completion of his 14th International tour.
As DJ, Rabbi D is known for reading crowds and moving dancefloors with tact and skill rare in the age of the push-button selector, putting his near 20 years of record collecting and turntable experience on display as resident DJ for the National Book Award, 24 Hour Plays on Broadway, elite private events and a 7-year Saturday night residency on the Lower East Side. He’s turned out parties from Cipriani (NYC) to Radost FX (CZ) to Mama Shelter (FR), where he was granted a 2-week artistic residency.
His beatboxing has taken him from the cypher to syndicated television, where he has appeared on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, The Today Show, and starred as a head coach on MTV’s Made. He is also a featured performer on the Drama Desk nominated Off-Broadway Show “Experience The Ride.” And was even duped on the new Candid Camera.
Darkside has also worked for 15 years in the NYC Public Schools, as a full-time classroom teacher and now Arts Educator. He co-founded the Hip Hop Re:Education Project and developed the groundbreaking rap-based test prep program Fresh Prep. He’s been honored as a Hip Hop Education Fellow at NYU, selected as Hip Hop Diplomat for the Next Level Initiative, and this Fall, will be teaching a seminar at the New School. On his mission to build global community while remaining an independent artist, he has shared stages and studios with Afrika Bambaataa, Aloe Blacc, Antibalas, Blue Man Group, Common, Dres, Fishbone, J-Live, Prince Paul, Rahzel, Robert Glasper, Rosie Perez, Sadat X, Slick Rick, Talib Kweli and The Coup, among many others.
BA in Political Science, Grinnell College (IA)
Hip Hop Pedagogy & Practice