Rappers on the rise: local SoundCloud artists share their experiences on the app

Justin Wingerter, Staff Writer

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SoundCloud has produced many of today’s top rappers such as  Lil Pump, Chance The Rapper, Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert. The music streaming industry is on the rise as well. Every year, SoundCloud accounts for many of hip-hop’s newest artists. Students like junior Aidan Bates (username AiDank) are joining the trend and starting to produce music on the streaming app.

Bates said he found the inspiration to start rapping from senior Ethan Diedel (username A$AP Allah), and after that, he found the time to start producing his own rap music on SoundCloud.

“When A$AP Allah started producing music, it started sounding pretty heat, so I figured that I needed to hop on that train,” Bates said. “It was all Ethan Diedel. He was the reason I started producing my music.”

One of Bates’s best known songs is the single “Garfield,” featuring junior Ben Hawkins (username B. Huns). Although Bates said he always tries to produce great music, he only wants to rap as a hobby and for fun, and does not intend to pursue it after high school.

“I want to make some really good music, but also I just want to get a few laughs out of some people too,” Bates said. “Sitting around and thinking about lyrics and stuff like that with friends, that’s my favorite part about rapping.”

When asked about how he had made his song “Garfield,” Bates said he and his friends just went into the studio and started writing lyrics, and before they knew it, the song was a hit.

“At the time, me and my friends just wanted to produce a super icy track, so we went to the studio and just started vibing, and before we knew it, ‘Garfield’ was there, and AiDank had been born,” Bates said.

However, rappers are not the only artists on SoundCloud. Freshman Jake Rafanan, a producer, said he has high goals for his music in the future, and said he even wants to sign with a record label, if the opportunity arises. Even though he said he is already working with other producers, he hopes to continue to gain recognition.

“Right now, I am just making music to try and get it recognized by producers and record labels,” Jake said. “I am going to do a collaboration with a producer named Sevito soon because he asked me if I wanted to.”

Separating himself from most artists, Jake said he specializes in genres like electronic dance music (EDM), big room and progressive house. He said he found an interest in making EDM when he saw young artists like Martin Garrix making a living out of music.

“Once I saw that Martin Garrix was on the stage at age 21 and was one of the top producers in the world, and knowing that he started at my age, that’s when I wanted to start producing music,” Jake said.

Jake also said he finds the motivation and inspiration to make music from big goals, like becoming one of the top producers in the world, as well as from smaller achievements, like finishing a “fire track.” Jake can also find inspiration from time to time from his older brother, junior Luke Rafanan (username Lil Juke), who is a SoundCloud rapper. With Jake being a producer and Luke being a rapper, one may think a collaboration would be obvious for the two, but it is not that simple for Luke.

“We have both tried hard to do a collab with each other, but the problem is, with him producing EDM or big room, that makes it really hard for me to rap over it,” Luke said.

Luke said he also defines himself as a trapper, which requires a much different beat than that of an EDM song. Similar to Bates,

Luke found his inspiration from A$AP Allah, and said his music is “straight heat.”

Luke’s trapping partner, junior Aidan Lopez (username Lil Tom), said that he not only is inspired by local artists like A$AP Allah, but also is influenced by famous SoundCloud rappers like Lil Pump.

“Lil Pump, Lil Purpp, they all influence me because they just make great music, you know, I have never heard anything like them, and songs like ‘Gucci Gang’ go hard in my opinion,” Lopez said.

Bates also said he aspires to become as good of a rapper as famous SoundCloud rappers like Lil Pump and Lil Uzi Vert, and being able to produce such great music would be a blessing.

“Lil Pump and Lil Uzi Vert’s music is heat and goes pretty hard, and if I could make music like they do, that would be like a dream,” Bates said.

Along with influence from famous rappers, Lopez said that he also finds motivation from within from the feeling he gets when putting together some “fire lyrics.” He said the feeling is unmatched and is his motivation to produce more music.

“I really love trapping because it makes me feel super hype and lit,” Lopez said. “When I can get a good rhyme going it’s the best feeling ever.”

Lopez also said although good verses motivate from day to day, he found his original inspiration for rapping in a song him and his friends made in eighth grade.

“In eighth grade … we

made a song about somebody, and even though we all got in trouble for it, it inspired

me to start making more music because just listening to the fire track we had created was inspiring to see what I could do in the future with rap,”  Lopez said.

But as all of these artists have different motives and aspirations, they all have the same passion for making music and trying to inspire others to make music, too.

“Making music inspires me because it gives me the belief that I could be something big in the future,” Jake said. “It’s also amazing just starting out with absolutely nothing and then, all of a sudden, having a whole track.”

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