‘Look at me’: The rise and fall of SoundCloud rap

‘Look at me’: The rise and fall of SoundCloud rap

What first involves thoughts while you hear the time period SoundCloud rap? Maybe you envision an immature group of teenagers with colorfully-dyed hair and face tattoos, rapping about prescribed drugs. Perhaps the time period connotes a way of rebelliousness that brings to thoughts thrilling, unfiltered discoveries discovered on the web. It might remind you of your individual blunders and self-produced lo-fi beats you would like won’t ever see the sunshine of day. No matter your relationship to the style, it appears that evidently this easy two-word phrase elicits robust reactions from each Gen Z, tech-savvy music listener.

Nevertheless, although mentions of the style are a staple in music discourse, defining the short-lived second of SoundCloud rap (typically derogatorily known as mumble rap) is a activity starting from arduous to unattainable.

Over the past decade, the viewers for the music streaming service SoundCloud exploded into the a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands. With a utopian imaginative and prescient of accessible music creation for the folks, SoundCloud grew to become a champion for any up-and-coming artist. New musicians, with out ever having to depart their bed room, gained stratospheric stardom, circumventing the traditional strategies of going to skilled studios and dealing with report labels. SoundCloud’s design is extra aligned with social media web sites than streaming providers, which lowers the barrier between artist and viewers. This gave an enormous benefit to musicians who interacted with their followers on-line. Behind the scenes, SoundCloud’s unprecedented success shook the music industry to its core.

What we consider as SoundCloud rap is emblematic of the platform it spawned from. With harsh, uncooked instrumentals, SoundCloud rap embodies the DIY nature of its platform. Songs like XXXTentacion’s “Take a look at Me” (which at present has over 189 million plays on SoundCloud) include blown-out vocals and really minimal mixing. Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang” (which peaked at quantity three on Billboard’s Sizzling 100) trades songwriting for the repetition of the phrase “Gucci gang” 53 instances. For outsiders of the style, this type of manufacturing could make SoundCloud rappers appear lazy and their music appear inaccessible, however for followers, this newbie aesthetic solely heightens the listening expertise.

These rappers, boasting ostentatious personalities, mind-numbing music and underground origins could elicit robust parallels to the punk movement of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Relatively paradoxically, most SoundCloud rappers have ditched the platform of their namesake and obtained snatched up by massive report labels, leaving SoundCloud rap to embody the spirit of the early punk scene. The place punk was a stripped-down, aggressive and sometimes nihilistic response to the maximalism of mainstream rock, SoundCloud rap responded equally to the surplus of mainstream hip-hop with hostile, anti-authoritarian attitudes. SoundCloud rappers are more likely to jot down songs about taking medicine than dealing them, and the content material of their songs is centered round melancholy and self-destruction, in contrast to mainstream rap’s obsession with ego inflation.

Much like punk, SoundCloud rappers are overwhelmingly younger. Many SoundCloud rappers, reminiscent of Tekashi69, Lil Peep and Ski Masks the Hunch God, all gained great fame earlier than their 18th birthdays. The recognition of those youngsters solidified SoundCloud rap because the sound of Gen Z. The style represented the anxieties of a extremely on-line technology disillusioned with the world they inherited. The unhealthy types of escapism mentioned in these songs — from medicine and intercourse to self-harm — are prevalent coping mechanisms inside a technology characterised by existential worry. The depth of the style, from the lyrics to the garish face tattoos, represents a palpable nihilism each on and off-stage. In a way, SoundCloud rappers and their cartoonish personas create an extremely genuine reflection of the damaged society they had been introduced into.

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