Filtering by Tag: rappers

Soundcloud Gen.

Happy hump day! With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we’re spending today analyzing what we’re thankful for. Besides family, friends, and the basics, we’re thankful for your support! Yes, we know we’ve said it before but fuck it, WE REALLY ADORE YOU GUYS. Organizations, or any company for that matter, can’t function without people supporting a common goal. We’re way too thankful for your support (although, are you ever too thankful?).

Sentimental notes aside, we’re excited for the weekend. Friday is Dylan Hall’s E.P. Release Party and the long weekend is just what we need to get ready for Basel. If you haven’t heard, we’ve been busy planning a pop-up that hit a little bump in the road. Plowing forward, we hope to bring you a “Locals Only” pop-up for Basel 2018. More info on Dylan Hall’s E.P. Release Party under “tickets” and we’ll keep you updated through our socials for Basel.

Dylan, as well as many rappers, let’s say musicians to keep it general, started with nothing. Ok, maybe they had enough money to get a couple speakers, maybe a mic to record a song or two, but for the most, including us, we had to make something out of nothing. The first step to doing so is determination and motivation. Determination to get somewhere, motivation to do something about it.

Once any artist has an innate feeling to create for whatever reason they think makes it worth it (in other word determined and motivated), we move on to having a platform to express themselves. Take a second to think about it: ANY artist, whether it’s in music, writing, dance, acting, etc. starts with a feeling, with a need to do that art form. If your parents have money, you get to go to arts school. If they don’t, your stuck with nothing other than the internet.

Platform, platform, platform. UMAMI, why did you start? Because we wanted to create a performing platform for local artists and the youth. Soundcloud, why did you start? Because we wanted to create a platform that enables anyone to upload, record, promote, and share originally created sounds across the web. Platform is immensely important to all artists, Soundcloud is specifically important to musicians.

Soundcloud was founded in 2007 by Alexander Ljung. iTunes was founded in 2001, Youtube in 2005, and Spotify in 2008. Today, these platforms are the largest music streaming platforms in the world (sorry Band camp). All are widely used for uploading anything from music to music videos and lyrics, but only two specialize in free, un-restricted uploading: Youtube and Soundcloud.

Back to Dylan and artists without much but a passion for their art, creating music videos for Youtube is expensive. iTunes and Spotify make the process difficult. We’re left with Soundcloud, and we just explained the whole reason behind the Soundcloud Gen., got it?

Fine fine fine, let’s dig a little deeper. Artists aren’t interested in paying to upload their music. If anything, they want money for their streams (which they should)! Like not wanting to pay for uploads, they don’t want to wait all day to get their song up (who does?). Soundcloud swooped in to fill the void. With Soundcloud, any artist at any level could finally, and quickly, upload their music and get feedback immediately. C’mon, you know what we’re talking about. Go to our Soundcloud and check out any of our playlists. Go ahead, test that comment section!

Soundcloud came and hasn’t stopped. Recently, Soundcloud has grown enormously due to the influx of “wanna be rappers”. Dylan isn’t a wanna be, a lot of artists on Soundcloud aren’t, but the fact is that with such an easy platform to access and upload, people who shouldn’t be rapping are. Wait Wait Wait. Just Wait. We aren’t in the position to judge musical abilities but we are. Why? Because we have enough experience in the music industry that we can tell what has potential and what doesn’t. Obviously, we can be wrong, but the trend is increasingly growing…. Everyone wants to rap/produce. Fuck, we wanted to before we saw the market.

As the social trend to rap increases, which in our opinion isn’t a bad thing, comes the Soundcloud Generation (Soundcloud Gen). Juice Wrld, Dexter, Ski Mask, XXX, basically the whole “new” South Florida rap game comes from Soundcloud. There is amazing talent on Soundcloud and some not so amazing ones too. Cole Bennet, owner of Lyrical Lemonade and videographer for some of the biggest music videos in the music industry today, started with filming “Soundcloud rappers”. His ideal is similar to ours: The Soundcloud Gen is on top now, what will be the next big thing?

  • Side note: This blog is to understand the Soundcloud Gen, why it began, and whether Soundcloud will remain the platform for start-up musicians. We encourage ALL artists and musicians to start or continue uploading their work on Soundcloud and other streaming platforms (if feasible). If you have a dream and a passion for music, do it! You have nothing to loose.

Issa Joke. - 21 Savage

Issa Joke. - 21 Savage

A camera is a rappers best friend

In today’s culture, online presence seems to transcend the music itself. I'm sure we’ve all been there: scrolling through our Instagram feed when suddenly you scroll past an obviously paid promotion for a poorly written and recorded rap song, that sounds exactly like some other rapper you already know. Just 3 seconds into listening you can hear the keyboards typing “free playboi carti type beat” on the YouTube search bar.

Not to be mean but why is it that so many new rappers are coming out nowadays? Sure the “SoundCloud” wave has revolutionized how the industry works, making it easier for new artists to be noticed, but it seems to be the ones, with the better online presence that survive and prosper. Music Videos, Instagram, Face Tattoos, Fake Chains and WordStar hashtags. Rappers nowadays value their online image more than the lyrical content itself.

Ok, look, I'm guilty. I enjoy rappers like Lil Pump, Playboi Carti, and 6ix9nine. You’re gonna tell me you don’t absolutely lose your shit when a song like GUMMO, D-rose or Magnolia comes on? These songs are perfect examples of what I call concert anthems. Songs that have a very reparative flow/hook making them ideal songs to mosh at a concert. There’s one other thing that ties these songs specifically together, music videos.

Lil Pump’s network clocks in at around 6.5 million dollars. Yes, you read that right. At the age of 17, he’s worth more than my whole family, combined. Now we could talk all day about how Lil pump is a lyrical genius (sarcasm guys…it’s the best) but we must agree that one of the main things that launched him into stardom was his persona. At 16 years old Pump was making waves in the underground rap scene for being a kid with tattoos and pointing a rifle in his mouth (in the music video for Ski Mask). Lil Pump was practically the poster child for the phrase “WTF”. Today, my mom knows who Lil Pump is and she’s never heard a word of his music.  Yet she recognizes his name and face. Pink dreads, tattoos, white but trying to be black, people know him for his look, his style, all thanks to the modern age. 

Social media is, and I would say continues to be the ammo that fuels the gun of Sound cloud and online rapping.  Example; Just Juice...that can mean one of two things. Either it’s just juice, or it’s a musical artist. Just juice became famous for his Instagram videos of freestyling and looking like Action Bronson’s step kid. There are so many artists now that use Instagram as their main source of promotion and media outlet. 

So, we know having a social media is the first step. But what sets you above the rest? What takes a 17-year-old kid with pink dreads to the cover of the XXL freshmen magazine the next year? Music Videos. For a videographer like myself, the name Cole Bennett carries A LOT of weight. Cole Bennett, in my opinion, is responsible for the launching of so many rap careers this year. Examples include Lil skies, Famous Dex, Lil Xan, Juice Wrld, Ski mask the Slump God. The list goes on and on.

Because of music videos and this great thing, we call Youtube, a rapper can establish, or further establish an online presence. Music videos give you a different look into an artist’s song. It gives you something to visually picture every time you hear the song. It puts you, and the rapper, out there. A music video has the potential to push your music career forward…a good music video that is. A good videographer is a rapper’s best friend. A camera, is a videographer’s best friend…so in other words …lets be friends.

MVNGO

Miami through music

Music tells a story. It tells the listener where the artist is from, why the artist made the music, when the music was made, the culture behind the music and the style the artist associates it with. Through a song, we can identify who the artist is, or at least make a good guess to his/her upbringing. 

What I find most interesting about music is it's cultural aspect. Culture is defined as "the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society." Through music, we can identify someone's culture, meaning where and what they grew up around. 

UMAMI's playlist, which we release every other Monday, is the definition of associating music with culture. Our goal is to identify the best artists in a certain community/city and put their music in a playlist. This playlist is found on iTunes, Spotify, and Soundcloud, in which the links are posted under the "Playlist" tab. 

Why is this important? We want to share Miami through music. By listening to music from each city in Miami Dade-County, we not only realize the amazing artists that either grew up or live/lived there, we understand that cities culture. With over 30 cities in Dade-County (36 if you wanna be exact), there's a hell of a lot of culture to understand (and make playlists for). 

To give you an example, we started our playlist idea with a place that has "talent that rivals any other neighborhood in the world", Carol City. Carol City is a neighborhood in Miami Gardens, known for importing crime and drugs to all of Dade-County. What we found, besides the obvious Carol City High School that brought together notable rappers such as Denzel Curry, Twelve'len and just about everyone, is the huge amount of rap "all stars" that came from this infamous drug community. I'm talking real all stars, not no TMZ bullshit. I'll put these guys up there with Eminem, Dr.Dre, Tupac and Biggie type deal. Rick Ross, Gunplay and SmokeGhostPurrp. If you haven't heard of these guys you need to crawl out of that rock you're living under and check out Carol City X UMAMI!

Digging just a little deeper, we wanted to know why this violent community made such great rappers. Listening to the rappers, their lyrics revolve around the crime they're associated with. Why did they start rapping? They were making money, doing what most to everyone does in poverty, sell drugs and just about anything else for money. Why would you go to making music, which has no guarantee for making money or success?

Bingo! I know why. Remember Carol City High School? Good. It's where all these amazing artists went to. Living in Carol City, the environment or the "hood" as Denzel Curry says it, makes amazing musicians. Since I haven't lived in Carol City, let me let the expert, Denzel Curry, take a swing at the question: 

What is it about the neighborhood that's led to so many musical artists?
I just think it's the environment. All of us went to Carol City High. Even Flo Rida went there. I think just by the programs that were there and the activities, and the outside activities, the hoods and everything—it just really made the people what they are today. - Vice.

Through music, we can understand so much about a city that we don't even have to visit it (even though we highly encourage it!). Go check out our playlist Carol City x UMAMI and let us know what you think, what we could/should change and if you feel you now understand one of the biggest melting pots in our county. 

*If you're interested in learning more about Carol City and it's rappers, Twelve'len recently released a great video with Red Bull entitled "Definition of a Florida Boy". Enjoy!*

                                                                                              Cover Art by Victoria Frank. 

                                                                                              Cover Art by Victoria Frank.