SoundCloud has made contributions to the music industry. It allowed aspiring artists to take their first steps in their careers. The platform offered them tools, resources, and services that can aid in their growth. But aside from artists, SoundCloud helped develop new genres and styles. The most notoriously known is SoundCloud Rap.
SoundCloud Rap is a microgenre of hip-hop that exploded on SoundCloud in the 2010s. Contrary to typical rap, in this genre, rappers put little emphasis on lyricism.
It is sometimes derogatorily called “mumble rap” due to a perceived incoherence of the artist's lyrics. Even so, the microgenre became popular. Even in popular songs, artists accuse other rising artists of buying real SoundCloud plays as a common technique to get popular.
Jon Caramanica of The New York Times says that SoundCloud rap has become the most vital and disruptive new movement in hip-hop. Todd Moscowitz, the founder of Alamo Records, called the scene a “lo-fi movement.” He noted the heavily distorted bass and intentional lack of polish in the sound. Ski Mask, the Slump God, also addressed the genre's lo-fi sound and recording techniques. He says they had the worst recording set-up. But they could set it anywhere. “The raw energy of that – the distortion – is our specialty, and we used that to our advantage,” the American rapper says.
SoundCloud rap embodies the DIY nature of the platform where it spawned. The platform is known as the gate opener for newcomers to the music industry. That is evident in the harsh, raw instrumentals and the amateur aesthetic found in SoundCloud rap. You would think that will turn listeners off. Surprisingly, people say it only heightens the listening experience.
The days of SoundCloud rap have come and ended. Some of its most prominent rappers like XXXTentacion, Juice WRLD, Jimmy Wopo, and Lil Peep have died. Lil Xan went into rehab while 6ix9ine faced legal troubles.
Still, the microgenre has left a lasting effect on the music industry. It inspired up-and-coming talents. For instance, rising star Dro Kenji admits XXXTentacion has influenced his music.
They say SoundCloud rap is the music of this generation. The rappers were overwhelmingly young. Dro Kenji already fits in that description. The nineteen-year-old recording artist is now making his name in the music industry.
He took an approach to his breakthrough similar to the late rapper Juice WRLD. Dro Kenji used raw emotion in his sound, Internet Money production, and colorful visuals from the Lyrical Lemonade team. The combination of those brought him to where he is now.
Much like the said rappers, Dro Kenji started gaining recognition on SoundCloud. His platform exclusives such as “100 rounds” and “Codeine Punch” have caught the masses' attention. Those tracks are reminiscent of the hip-hop microgenre but are elevated by Dro Kenji's own style.
Following the success of those tracks, two of his songs, “SAVE ME” and “Kill Cupid,” has hit three million streams on Spotify. Meanwhile, his latest record, titled “Superstar,” is also about to hit the same milestone.
What is special about Kenji is the seemingly freestyling melodies and flows of his songs. He says he finds that it comes out more fresh when he does that.
Hot New Hip Hop (HNHH) featured Kenji on one of its Rise & Grind sessions. It is a weekly blog where they interview Hip-hop personalities. Here are some of the questions asked and the young artist's answers.
Dro Kenji's answer was simple. He says he wants to be remembered as a person who only wishes to help. “That's how I feel and how I live; I just want to help,” he says. Since his music is uplifting, that may actually happen.
Kenji answers this by saying he firmly believes his music is uplifting. Indeed, his music is catchy, fun, and also uplifting.
When making songs, he says he takes a subject that is not positive and then “forms a happier release of energy.” If you would think about it, that is something SoundCloud rap also does.
“I want people to think the song is sad, but it is not really sad,” he adds.
Dro Kenji says he has his first song on SoundCloud – just like many other indie artists. However, he says he does not remember it. Also, he revealed that he started making songs when he was in tenth grade. Admittedly, he was making trash songs back then. But, he says he progressed quickly and started making songs that are fire.
This question was raised because Dro Keji has named XXXTentacion as his favorite artist in past interviews. Kenji says he was amazed by how XXXTentation touched and affected many people. What's more, he did it with an out-of-the-bedroom type of music, using Blue Snowball mics.
Kenji says SoundCloud rappers built their empire out of nothing and nowhere, then took it in many directions. That aspect of DIY SoundCloud inspired him.
Dro Kenji has signed to Internet Money – a production collective and record label. He works closely with the founder Taz Taylor and other producers like Nick Mira, Cxdy, and more. When asked how he got connected to the company, he said his manager John was responsible for it.
Before John became Kenji's manager, he was a stranger. He messaged the artist and asked him to send songs. At that time, Kenji was only making music in his room after school. He says his songs had some listens, but not that much. So, when John messaged him, he did not think anything of it. He did as he was told.
After a month, John hit him up and told him to fly out. It turns out John has hooked him up with Internet Money.
In line with the legacy he wanted to make, Kenji says he wants to help more people by touching them emotionally.
Date: August 3, 2021 / Categories: New Stuff, / Author: Joy P
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