By many metrics, the arts at Belmont Hill are dwindling. Fewer students are taking musical instrument lessons, the B-Flats lack the same prestige that they once held, and, for the first time in recent memory, there will not be a senior directed play. But off campus, the arts, and music in particular, are thriving more than ever. This is due, in a large part, to the recent surge in popularity of SoundCloud rapping. For those unfamiliar with the platform, SoundCloud is a free music sharing service where up and coming artists can make a name for themselves. Thanks to SoundClouds’ easy to use interface, a number of Belmont Hill students have posted their own bars on the app. Whether they are freestyling or rapping with lyrics, whether they are producing their own beats or downloading them from the internet, whether they are rapping to have fun, make a joke, or seriously exploring a career in music, these Belmont Hill amateur rappers have grown into their own diverse community. I sat down with one BH SoundCloud rapper to talk about it in an anonymous interview:
MS: Why did you start rapping on SoundCloud?
Rapper: “I started because some of my friends started.”
MS: How do you come up with your lyrics?
Rapper: “Most of my songs are off the dome (freestyle), but sometimes I go into it with an idea in mind.”
MS: Walk me through the process of how you produce a song.
Rapper: “First, I rip a beat from YouTube. Then, I slap that baby into Garageband and let the words flow.”
MS: What’s your favorite part about SoundCloud rapping?
Rapper: “My favorite part of SoundCloud rapping is the fans. I do it all for the fans.”
MS: Have you collaborated with other rappers at BH? What was that like?
Rapper: “Yes. It has always been a joy. My comrades are always professional.”
MS: What is the hardest part of SoundCloud rapping?
Rapper: “The hardest part about rapping is hiding from the paparazzi. They are always catching me off guard, ya know.”
MS: What would your advice be to someone considering rapping on SoundCloud?
Rapper: “I’d say just give it a try. Johnny High once said you miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”
MS: Do you think SoundCloud rapping or something like it will ever earn a place in the Belmont Hill arts curriculum? How might you envision that?
Rapper: “I don’t know if Belmont Hill would be ready for it, but I would be open for a teaching position.”