As a founding member of the pioneering San Francisco hip-hop group Bored Stiff, Pablo Sierra Whaley (aka “Professor Whaley”) has been writing raps and producing music since 1988.
Between receiving a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering, Whaley spent several years as a middle school math teacher and department chair in the Bay Area, where he first developed his innovative “Rap-Matics” program.
Rap-Matics is designed to boost STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) competency using elements of hip-hop, poetry, and technology.
Today, Whaley continues to curate the Rap-Matics curriculum and operate his production studio, Sonic Legacy Music with the help of Metric Halo’s ChannelStrip 3.
“Music is in my DNA,” asserted Whaley. “I was born into a musical family. My mom, grandma, and great-grandma all played piano. I played the trumpet in middle school, and then started a hip-hop group with my friend ‘Equipto,’ a now-legendary Frisco MC.
“As a teacher, one of the problems I noticed early on was that students were not connecting with the subject matter in the math books we were using. So I decided to take a new approach. I knew that my students loved the hip-hop culture. As an MC, I knew that rapping was a tool that could be used to connect people with concepts and information.
“I had ‘math-raps’ and ‘chemistry-raps’ to prove it. So I decided to create a literacy program that fused rap with mathematics. This was in the spring of 2000. To my knowledge, I am the first educator in the United States to have created a hip-hop-based math literacy program.”
Whaley founded Sonic Legacy Music in 2005.
“I’ve used hundreds of different plug-ins from the freeware to the top-of-the-line stuff,” he said. “But nowadays, whenever I make music, I use Metric Halo ChannelStrip 3. It’s an extremely versatile plug-in.
“I’m using it for mixing and mastering several of my own projects right now, including unreleased Rap-Matics tracks and client projects. I have also used its de-noising, equalization, and compression to clean up audio from Rap-Matics video footage.
“The EQ is amazing, especially on drums and vocals. The scalable GUI is awesome. The presets are truly useful and the EQ curves are easy to grab and manipulate. The compressor is clean, but I can tweak it to get a more grimy sound when I need it.
“Overall, the ChannelStrip 3 is my go-to plug-in for all things requiring gating, compression, or equalization… which is pretty much everything!”