Seniors express themselves through becoming SoundCloud rappers

January 24, 2019 — by Ava Hooman and Esha Lakhotia

A new platform has taken over the pop culture: SoundCloud. Through this platform, the average American can test his or her musical abilities and create innovative music. These so-called “SoundCloud rappers” have gained traction in the last five years with their revolutionary sound.

Joining this trend are seniors Rohan Pandey and David Koh, a duo known as “Anime Samurai” on SoundCloud.

“We started out with Japanese themed hip-hop, but we're branching out now because it's hard to stay in one lyrical area like that,” Pandey said. “Initially, it was a joke. However, after we somehow ended up making an actual Soundcloud account, recording the track, editing it and uploading it, we realized we're real rappers now.”

The pair spontaneously came up with the idea of creating music while bored during Thanksgiving break. Each song’s lyrics take about 30 minutes to write, and after they write the bars, they find a free beat on SoundCloud that fits the tone. They currently have 23 followers and 338 total plays.

Pandey uses the knowledge he has gained from being a part of the school’s Media Arts Program (MAP). The group records the raw files on Pandey’s laptop, aligns them with the beat in an application called Audacity, adjusts the volumes, exports the song as an MP3 file and finally uploads it to SoundCloud.

“We've written lyrics for about six songs so far and have beats ready, but we haven't gotten around to recording them yet,” Pandey said. “If we get enough clout, I think we can probably expand our career and make something out of it.”

Koh wasn’t passionate at first, but was persuaded by Pandey to join the project.

“I didn't really think we were going to record, but one day Rohan picked me up and said we were getting Taco Bell, but then made me get out of the car at school. At around 10 p.m., we were in front of the teachers lounge in the dark yelling at each other, and he wouldn’t let me get my jacket from the car until I recorded with him. That's how [the group’s first song] ‘Anime Haven’ was created,” Koh said.

They co-write the verses, while Pandey manages the beats and publishes the music onto their account. They used $7 headphones with a built in mic to record their vocals.

So far, they have released two songs called “Anime Haven” and “Left On Read,” but the account hasn’t been progressing as they initially intended.

“I think that the account lost a lot of traction mainly because our planned Christmas album didn't work out well, and we were both busy with [college] applications over break so we didn't do too much with it,” Koh said. “Now that it’s second semester I think we might do some more content.”

According to Pandey, their main musical inspirations include rappers Lil Pump, 6ix9ine and XXXTentacion, but they pull ideas from all over the SoundCloud community. Pandey hopes that he can continue his music career in college, too.

“I’ll certainly continue rapping in college,” Pandey said. “Although Lil Pump dropped out of Harvard to save the rap game, my opinion is that Harvard [college] and the rap game can coexist.”

Unlike Pandey, Koh said that he has no interest in continuing his music in college and hopes the account will stay a fond high school memory.

Pandey, however, hopes their music will be part of their friendship in years to come.

“Samurai gang never forget nothing,” Pandey said.

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