Black Violin: “We Studied Classical, But We Lived Hip-Hop”

Kev Marcus (Kevin Sylvester) and Wil B. (Wilner Baptiste) are some of the hottest names in classical music today. They’ve also made a splash in hip-hop circles for their work, which makes them a pretty unlikely success story.

Together they form Black Violin, a hip-hop, classically influenced violin and viola duo.

This talented pair creates a unique and genuine sound that is redefining current and past musical genres and it all started at a South Florida high school, where the two met years ago.

Their music was formed from a blend of their classical training and musical taste in hip-hop.

“We didn’t try to do this, and that is why it works- we were it,” Kev Marcus said in an interview with RISE NEWS.

Their sound incorporates qualities of both genres into one, eloquent blend. It is a sound unlike any other that identifies the similar chord structures between the two genres, while also illuminating the tonal differences.

WATCH: Black Violin’s “Stereotypes”

“Classical is pure, naked, and vulnerable,”Kev Marcus said. “There is a fragility to it that mirrors hip hop’s rigid feel.”

Black Violin creates a sound that challenges people’s perceptions, and inspires others to think outside the box.

They also are not afraid to take a stand on issues impacting people’s lives.

“When coming up with the music we weren’t thinking about how as black men we can change people’s perceptions, it was just a natural reaction for us,” Kev Marcus said.


Kev Marcus (Kevin Sylvester) and Wil B. (Wilner Baptiste) make up Black Violin. Photo Credit: Black Violin/ Facebook

He said their goal is to break down stereotypes that keep people from expressing themselves and creating something new and innovative.

Their music always comes first, but social activism and influence emanates from their sound, their image, and the way their music relates to a universal crowd.

“Stereotypes” is one of Black Violin’s most popular songs, and it features Kev Marcus’s three daughters, wife, and mother.

As musicians, Black Violin is genuine and groundbreaking; but the emotion behind their sound is a powerful quality of their music.

Kev Marcus described that their intention is to convey emotion in what they play.

“I want you to feel invigorated, inspired, happy, and so on,” Kev Marcus said.

Black Violin’s music does just that and more.

Listen: Black Violin’s “Shaker” 

Their sound is relatable for people of all backgrounds and ages, and represents timeless qualities of music in a revolutionary way.

Black Violin demonstrates how musical genres can be transformed and redefined to create insightful expressions of emotion and tone.

If hip-hop is raw and rugged, and classical is naked and vulnerable, their music allows their listeners to find catharsis in the balanced blend of the two sensations.

Black Violin is about to go on a tour of Europe. For more info, you can visit their website:

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Black Violin/ Youtube (Screengrab)

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About the Author
Michele is a Senior Literature major at the University of Colorado Boulder. Michele is especially interested in multiculturalism in current literature. Her other interests include music, especially bluegrass and classic rock and hiking and camping in her home state, Colorado.
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