In the past 40 years since its inception, one of the major focuses of hip hop music has been to use music to bring people of all backgrounds and walks of life together. Thanks to the Internet, billions of people around the world have been exposed to hip hop music and culture.
However, for the deaf community, appreciating hip hop was a struggle- until now.
Despite being born deaf, Matt Maxey is still a huge hip hop fan and has used his love of hip hop music to help others in the deaf community through DEAFinitely Dope, an organization that aims to bring the deaf and hearing communities together through music, where Maxey serves as the organization’s founder.
Growing up in Atlanta, Maxey fell in love with many kinds of music- from hip hop to country. After high school, he attended Gallaudet University in Washington too, a university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students where American Sign Language is the primary form of communication between students and faculty.
Maxey, who had never learned to sign thanks to his partial hearing through the use of hearing aids, found himself catching up with his classmates and practicing ASL using music and music lyrics, eventually matching the music’s rhythm and lyrics. Before long, his videos went viral within the deaf community and soon, DEAFinitely Dope was born.
Maxey caught his first big break when as was interpreting for D.R.A.M. at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Chance the Rapper noticed him and his fellow interpreters from DEAFinitely Dope and invited them to interpret at his upcoming concerts.
In an interview with CNN, Maxey says, “Music is life. Music is my passion. It’s my motivation. It’s my everything.”
Thanks to Maxey and others, that passion can now be better experienced by hundreds of thousands more fans.