Inside the traveling studio helping at-risk youth find their voice


Mike Boston calls Mobile Stü a “problem-solving” invention — but before that, it was just a pickup truck.

The rapper, who, fitting to his name, was born and raised in Boston, crafted the project out of a vehicle he inherited from his late father.

Boston renovated the truck and installed a fully functioning recording booth in the front seat. Now, it’s the basis for Mobile Stü, the traveling studio he uses to let the city’s youth record music, express their creativity and, hopefully, keep them out of trouble.

“Basically I use the mobile studio so that I can teach young people and show them and give them access to things that I didn’t have when I was younger as a creator and as an artist,” Boston told In The Know in 2019.

The idea spawned out of Boston’s own experience as what he calls a “very at-risk young man.” Growing up in the city, he didn’t have much to do or many creative ways to use his time.

“If I had more options, like to go to a recording studio or even a film studio to learn how to do that stuff, then I probably wouldn’t have been getting in trouble,” he told In The Know.” I probably wouldn’t have been trying to find alternative ways of feeding myself.”

Mobile Stü offers exactly that opportunity. The project travels across the city, giving at-risk urban youths — mostly men in their late teens or early 20s — a chance to express themselves.

For Boston, the project is about self-expression and giving young people a chance to find something they might be good at.

“The best feeling in the world [is] to see that you taught somebody something,” he said. “And then they get better than you … and they continue to like, hone the skills and the talent.”

Still, when Mobile Stü gets a group of teens together to record a song, they’re not just having fun.

Sometimes, they’re building careers. In fact, Boston told In The Know in 2019 that at least three kids he worked with contacted him later down the line to share that they’d signed a recording contract.

“Making it” isn’t what matters, but it is an important lesson. Ultimately, Boston is trying to set an example in his community — and the more role models he shows his kids, the better off they’ll be.

“[Even] if it was just one, it’s really awesome because now that young person is probably going to show someone else,” Boston said. “And there’s a domino effect.”

If you liked this story, check out this article on Sweet Anita, the Twitch star speaking out about her Tourette’s syndrome.

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