New York

Get to know Randy Mason

New York City Coordinator

Randy Mason is the founder of R.H.Y.M.E. (Rhymes Help Young Minds Excel), a  youth educational Hip Hop program that bridges life skills and mic skills through the art of emceeing. Born in El Barrio - East Harlem - and raised in the Bronx by Jamaican African American and Puerto Rican parents. Randy fell in love with Hip Hop at a young age, when listening to his older brother rhyme became more interesting than playing Nintendo.

 Randy often got in trouble at school for emceeing and drawing graffiti. Frequently distracted and disengaged in class he struggled significantly in his academics. Hip Hop became his university. Years later when Randy married his childhood friend, a NYC educator, his love for emceeing combined with her love for education and their love for youth became the impetus that moved Randy from a career in health care as a dialysis biomedical technician into a vocation in the arts, as a teaching artist and youth mentor.

Since then, Randy uses his passion for hip hop to help today’s youth find their voice and build community. In New York, he serves as the Hip Hop and Studio Arts Director for Thrive Collective. As a father, husband, recording artist, educator and pastor, Randy draws from a deep well of unique and diverse experiences to tell stories through songs, engaging all audiences in a way that is real, relevant, meaningful and memorable.

Randy recognizes that hip hop gives students an opportunity to develop “mic skills and life skills.” They learn figurative language, improvisation, creative writing and thinking, and poetry, all while having fun. Students use the elements of hip hop to discover their voice (emceeing), movement (breaking), a community (DJing), and their name (graffiti).

2021 City Calendar

Note: there is no NYC cohort in 2021. Randy and his team will support and mentor leaders in Dallas, Oakland, and San Diego.



City Dialogues



Case Study: The Island School

"Reach High," music and music video by PS/MS 188 Thrive Collective hip hop students (2020)

Video by Eric. Mason / Mason Jar Productions
Mural design by Marissa Molina with Romero Britto Sponsored by Nickelodeon, NYC Council Member Carlina Rivera, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

From October 2019 - February 2020, before COVID-19, students from PS/MS 188 in the Lower East Side designed and painted the "Islanders Dive Deeper" mural, then wrote a song, choreographed dance, and produced a music video about the experience called "Reach High." More.

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Enlist in the 2021 National Cohort Today

 Applications must be received no later than March 15, 2021.

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