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Paging Dr. Beatbox.

August 29, 2011

David Gudis overheard a kid in high school making cool noises with his mouth. He was drawn to the rhythmic sounds – it was music, and the only instrument was that guy. Gudis decided right then that he had to learn how to do the same thing.

“I didn’t even know it was beabtboxing the first year I was doing it,” he says now with a laugh.

He continued making beats when he went to Columbia University as a pre-med student. In New York, he began performing at open mic nights under the name MC Squared. He met DJs and rappers and they started inviting him to their shows.

Then, Gudis went big time. He made it onto Showtime at the Apollo (above), and won. He performed numerous times on the program. He started making appearances with legendary beatboxers like Doug E. Fresh and Kenny Muhammad. Over the last decade, he’s performed in Spain, Germany, Kenya, Rwanda, Cambodia, Japan, and all across the United States.

“Beatboxing is a great outlet,” Gudis, now 30, says. “If I have any thought in my head, I can make people feel it. There’s just a mic between you and the people. It’s so raw. There’s nothing else like it.”

Despite all the perks of being in show business, Gudis always knew that medicine was his calling. In 2004, he entered medical school at the University of Pennsylvania.

He has continued performing though. One of his most memorable nights, he says, was at Transit on Spring Garden Street. He was on the same bill as M.I.A. and Diplo. Gudis took the stage for soundcheck after M.I.A. went through her sound. So while testing the system, Gudis did a beatbox version of M.I.A.’s hit “Galang.”

“She loved it,” he recalls. “She came up on stage and started singing. Diplo came up and started scratching.”

They repeated the routine later during the actual performance.

Gudis is currently a resident at Penn, and he works often with people suffering from hearing loss. His two worlds now collide.

“I can be a doctor and help people hear?” he says. “Shit. That’s what I want to do.”

Gudis will perform as part of the Philly FM Fest on September 24 at Invincible Pictures Sound Stage (1600 N. 5th Street) before the screening of the documentary Beatboxing: The Fifth Element of Hip Hop (below).

Text and image by G.W. Miller III.

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