Music is a powerful art form that draws upon cultural legacy and historical social movements. At United Roots hip-hop music is utilized as a form of community storytelling, and students at United Roots are encouraged to use their music for personal and community transformation. United Roots offers a wide variety of music production programs, from beginning to advanced classes, artist development and music industry training. At United Roots we have a music production computer lab, three media arts labs and a full recording studio. Students learn beat making, sound engineering, mixing, and mastering through digital music production software programs such as Reason, Pro-Tools, Ableton Live, Cubase, Logic, and much more.

Music Program

Beginning Music Production Program

This beginning Music Production course gives students knowledge of music theory and practice building keyboarding skills. In the class youth apply music theory to beat production, which is taught on beat making software. Once skills are gained in music production, students begin working on lyric writing skills. Following the writing portion of the course students learn how to properly set up and operate a full recording studio. All students write and produce songs, and United Roots releases music compilations of the best songs. Performance opportunities are available as well.

Lab Times: Monday through Friday 12:00-8:00pm

For More Information about the Music Program please email:

At Work

Young-Adult Music Production Program

The young adult music program serves advanced music artists who have developed music skills and talent, but are lacking the resources to get their artistry to the next level. This course focuses on live show performance techniques, advanced studio skills, sound engineering, artist development, music business and all the ins and outs of producing an independent music project. Students in the program work on individual and group albums for their final projects with deadlines and expectations similar to the music industry.

Lab Times: Monday through Friday 12:00-8:00pm

For More Information about the Music Program please email:

Queen Engineer

Turf Unity

Turf Unity Music Project

The Turf Unity Project offers training and resources to turf youth that want to produce music that explores the root causes of violence. The music produced in the workshops promotes a message of Turf Unity. The project directly responds to community needs by advocating for violence-free living and offers alternatives to violence by providing resources for professional music development. The goal of the Turf Unity project is to bring together talented young artists and producers ages 15-24 from all Oakland neighborhoods and Bay Area turfs to collaborate on Stop The Violence Turf Unity Songs. These songs are performed at Silence the Violence and Art in Action events and are used for various projects as a way of bringing communities together into action. At Turf Unity workshops, participants have an opportunity to make beats, play music instruments, do lyric writing, and record in pro-tools studios for 3-full days.

The Turf Unity Music Project has had tremendous success and has inspired thousands of people. The first Turf Unity compilation CD sold over 1200 copies in the first month, and went gold on the streets as well as won Best of The Bay by the San Francisco Guardian newspaper. The first Turf Unity show sold out, featuring over 40 rap artists and a number of community leaders like Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. The second Turf Unity project brought together over 50 artists from more than 30 neighborhoods throughout the Bay Area, including Mistah F.A.B., Dj Cochise (KRS-1′s dj) and Dj Fuse (formerly of Digital Underground). This Turf Unity gathering made front-page news in the Oakland Tribune as well as headline news on KTVU Channel 2. Music produced as part of the Turf Unity project supports contributing youth artists and has generated thousands of dollars for participating rappers and music companies. Turf Unity promotes business networking in the community and encourages collaboration between artists as a strategy for success in the music industry. The Turf Unity project hires youth artists from the Bay Area community to run not only the recording sessions, but also to produce the CDs, organize the shows, and coordinate tour opportunities.

We’ve taken Turf Unity to the United States Social Forum in Atlanta, the Dream Reborn Green for All Conference in Memphis, the National Hip-Hop convention in Las Vegas, and the Alaska Youth for Environmental Action convergence in Anchorage. The Turf Unity project enthusiastically shares its organizing model with interested groups throughout the nation and continues to be interested in partnering with other projects with shared commitments. Turf Unity is a collaborative effort of Art in Action, United Roots, United Playaz and the Urban Peace Movement. The last Turf Unity Weekend Gathering happened in June 2010, and the album was released on November 15th, 2010. Turf Unity participated in Turf Summits in Oakland during Summer 2012 & 2013 as part of the Urban Peace Movement’s Silence the Violence National Day of Action.

For more information about Upcoming Turf Unity Events Contact: Galen Peterson

Turf Unity 4 Promo Video:

Group Photo from Turf Unity 2010
(Turf Unity Group Photo)

Short Film about the Turf Unity Project:

Short Film about the 1st Turf Unity Showcase:

Turf Unity Slideshow with Original Music:

Turf Unity Music Video: