A BOOK ABOUT A BOX
Written by Randy Mason Illustrated by Jon Souza
"A Book About a Box" is an illustrated children's book about the Afro-Peruvian Cajón drum with a NYC city Hip Hop spin. The story of the Cajón is told in rhyme form by a rapping Cajónero who takes the reader on a journey to explore the drum's rich history while imagining its future!
About the author.
My name is Randy Mason. I'm a Nuyorican, African American rapper, percussionist & author from The Bronx NYC. As a kid growing up in the Bronx and El Barrio, aka Spanish Harlem, or East Harlem, the drum beat was everywhere. Even when the music stopped. I remember living on the 2nd floor at 930 Grand Concourse in the Bronx. Walking distance from Yankee Stadium. There was a guy who sat in front of the building playing his hand drum whenever the weather was nice. I enjoyed listening to him play. I fell in love with Hip Hop thanks to my brothers, my borough and a 5th grade school dance party where a DJ invited me on a journey that I'm still on today. The Cajón came into my life later. As a young adult, my friend and bandmate, Akil Dasan, gifted me the box. We were part of a Hip Hop soul band at the time. He said "Here. You can play this when you're not rapping." I fell in love with the Cajón and learned to play while rapping! The drum has a lot in common with Hip Hop. It's a remix of an older drum. Born in a time of tremendous hardship. The fruit of ingenuity! I like that. I can identify with the drum personally too. It's unassuming. It's simple. It's a box. At first glance, most people don't expect it to be so powerful, versatile, full of story and song. My elementary students at a Charter School in the South Bronx inspired me to write this book and share the story of the Cajón; especially with those unfamiliar with the instrument. My aim is to (re)introduce the drum in a different context. A remix with a Hip Hop spin. I hope to inspire the next generation of Cajón players, and specifically Rapping Cajóneros worldwide.
Photo by Daniel Kwak