4 Wheel City turning Disability into Hip-Hop Beats

Nov 13, 2013
Tagged with: 4 Wheel City turning Disability into Hip-Hop Beats

I’m sitting in a session at a disability disclosure conference at the University of Delaware, and I learned of the one thing I didn’t expect to learn: one of the keynote speakers who are from a different generation than myself (older) informed me about a hip-hop duo. I was locked in Bizzaro World.

Katherine D. Seelman, from the University of Pittsburgh, was one of the keynote speakers at the conference, and she sat in on a breakout session I was attending. The session turned into a discussion about how we can do better work on college campuses to provide better environments for students to disclose disability if they desire. Events that promoted disability as part of life then led to Seelman offering evidence of what the University of Pittsburg did last year by inviting a hip-hop group to campus.

“I had to learn what hip-hop was,” Seelman said, jokingly.

The group was 4 Wheel City, the hip-hop duo of Namel “Tapwaterz” Norris and Ricardo “Rickfire” Velasquez.

So, I Googled 4 Wheel City. I read about them. I learned gun violence changed their lives. I learned they both lost friends due to their acquired disabilities. I learned they both had difficult times after acquiring their disabilities. But I also learned they met, teamed up to chase a music dream, and have turned things into a big positive.

Their most recent feather in the cap is a new release “Welcome 2 Reality G Mix” featuring Snoop Dogg. For those of you not familiar with rap or hip-hop, adding Snoop Dogg’s name to anything brings instant play, instant street credibility, and instant attention among thumping and rhythmic aficionados.

Browsing through 4 Wheel City’s online videos, they embrace disability in their lyrics and promote dialogue that is often not discussed. It can be a common ground for people who relate to disability, or it can be educational to people who do not.

The best part of 4 Wheel City’s story is the duo takes disability into the world. The musicians are speaking to the hip-hop community. They’re speaking to the disability community. Heck, they even spoke to the academic community. No matter the context, I appreciate that.


For more information on 4 Wheel City, browse their website at www.4wheelcity.com.

Living Well with a Disability Expo: http://www.livingwellwithadisabilityexpo.org/hip-hop-sensation-4-wheel-city-to-perform-at-living-well-with-a-disability%e2%84%a0-conference-expo/


Author: Josh pate

  • bobl07

    I never thought I would be reading a blog about snoop dogg. The world of disability and hip hop are a smooth sounding combination.