All it takes is a microphone, a laptop, and a dream. New music is constantly coming out, and Soundcloud is a growing platform for it. A music website and app that allows users to upload their own songs and beats, Soundcloud creates opportunities for new rappers to come up and get noticed.
“I started rapping in 2014 because I was relating to music so much, I thought that I could express my life through it,” said Quan Sherod, a Soundcloud musician and senior at Cedar Shoals who goes by the name of QueGotti. “I think [Soundcloud] really helps show my talents because they are slept on.”
It’s relatively easy to start posting songs to Soundcloud. A laptop or computer is necessary along with software to place vocals, mixing and mastering, and general recording. A microphone is also necessary. Prices of microphones range from $15 to $300, depending on the quality of the audio. There are two ways to upload your music. You can either download your song and upload from the Soundcloud website, or upload directly from the software you are using.
The Soundcloud platform helps bring attention to smaller, less known musicians like Sherod.
“Soundcloud helps promote others who aren’t heard enough, and it helps bring rappers one step closer to fame,” Sherod said.
Sherod recently released a new single “Big Dawg” racking up 500 views on YouTube in one day. Because of the ease of promoting his music through Soundcloud, he linked up with another young area rapper called Virgin JJ who sports over 900,000 Instagram followers.
“I’ve known JJ since I was 9, and we’ve been hanging out ever since then,” Quan said.
Soundcloud rappers have also developed new fashion looks. Colorful dreadlocks, face tattoos, golden teeth, and expensive jewelry all come with the Soundcloud image.
“Clothes and fashion are pretty important in music. I think that your style can grab people’s attention and make you unique outside of your sound,” said junior Tyson Jordan. “I started dying my hair because it keeps things fresh and keeps me different from other artists.” Jordan’s Soundcloud handle is Tyjoyo, and he started posting music to Soundcloud last December.
Lil’ Peep, a famous and upcoming musician who grew popular from Soundcloud, died in December after taking Xanax laced with Fentanyl. The loss really affected the community. Like much popular rap music, drugs are commonly mentioned and used in the broader Soundcloud community.
“[Drugs] definitely drive the new wave, which is a gift and a curse at the same time. It hit me hard when Lil’ Peep died, but it showed everyone the risk and problems that start when you use these drugs,” Jordan said.
Paco Marquez, a freshman at Oconee County High School, is another local Soundcloud artist who posts on Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube. He has performed multiple shows at Athfest and other downtown venues. He simply uses his own name as his Soundcloud handle.
“Soundcloud is free to listen to, which makes people want to use Soundcloud over Spotify or Apple Music,” Marquez said. “It’s also a good platform to upload demos and music that is new and innovative.”
Like traditional music mediums, promotion is one key to success in the Soundcloud world.
“I usually post on my social media when I drop a new song, host a show, or shoot a music video,” Marquez said. “I also use a press kit to promote myself when booking shows.”
“I think it will be the biggest music platform. I look at it as YouTube for music,” Marquez said.