A New York City schoolteacher was caught off guard by one of his favorite Harlem-born rappers during an episode of Maroon 5’s new YouTube series, “Sugar.”
Majid Khaliq, a violinist turned music teacher who studied at Queens College and Juilliard, thought he was recording footage for a music documentary when he was approached by the production team behind the Adam Levine-fronted series. Instead, he was surprised with an impromptu performance by BET Hip-Hop Award-winner A$AP Ferg.
“Music is the closest thing to real magic. It gives me the inspiration to move forward and to dream really big,” Khaliq, a KIPP Academy Charter School teacher, says in the second episode of “Sugar,” which is available on YouTube.com for Premium subscribers. “Music, and Ferg’s music in particular, is a reassurance that even when you think you can’t do anything, music is here to help you to motivate you.”
The series, a YouTube Original, was inspired by Maroon 5’s “Sugar” music video, viewed more than 2.5 billion times since its 2014 release. The wedding-crashing video stunt led to the band’s frontman, Adam Levine, enlisting the help of celebrities, such as Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, Snoop Dogg, Charlie Puth and A$AP Ferg, to give back to fans who are working to better their communities.
“I got to thinking, what if this extended beyond Maroon 5 and what if it expanded beyond weddings,” Levine, the series producer, says.
The New York City-set episode honors Khaliq for “saving the NYC youth” with music. It brings A$AP Ferg to the Union Square-14th Street station for some “real New York style” busking, and to the Bronx to shock Khaliq and his students with a performance.
“Nobody from my neighborhood played an instrument, let alone a violin. So, he’s speaking volumes [for the community],” Ferg says of Khaliq’s efforts to inspire middle school-aged kids to express themselves through music.
You can see the surprise unfold in the nearly 20-minute episode, available for streaming at Youtube.com.