SoundCloud rappers: Undeserved punching bags of music artists

Chasing dreams is seen as a “red flag”


Daryn Rowse

Lil Peep, Playbpi Carti, XXXTentacion, Juice Wrld, and Chance the Rapper are all household names that started on SoundCloud.

by Daryn Rowse, Reporter

When most people hear the term “SoundCloud Rapper” they think of the high school dropout who just started making music and doesn’t know how to rhyme. But behind those curtains is a whole era of hip-hop oozing with influence and creativity.

SoundCloud is free and currently one of the most common places to distribute music. People who aren’t tuned into the rap community tend to generalize teen rappers who use SoundCloud as “trash” and “unprofessional.” Given the fact that SoundCloud is available to anyone with the internet, allowing anyone to upload anything to it, people tend to hear more about the “bad boy” from their school that just started to make music and immediately assume that Soundcloud is a place for young people to release bad music. 

Iwurstt, a digicore artist from Frederick said, “I’ve noticed that a lot of new artists try to act bigger than they are. They get a little traction and let it go to their ego. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it can poorly reflect on them and the platform as a whole. This causes people to refer to underground artists as ‘SoundCloud rappers’ as an insult.”

Not only is the generalization of rappers who use SoundCloud a horrible knock on those who are actually pushing out great content, but people assume that these new young artists will stay stuck at the skill level they are at when first releasing music as if growth is nonexistent. 

Similar to all media influencers, young rappers need a way to grow popularity. SoundCloud acts as the first baby steps in the life of a new artist. It spreads certain music to the right communities and also allows artists to get constructive criticism. Without these first steps, making it into the music industry will be challenging. Anyone who starts a SoundCloud account early in their music career has a leg up on everyone else because they have gotten more experience with supporters, haters, and music marketing in general.

SoundCloud has had a huge impact on hip-hop. Artists such as Bad Bunny, Playboi Carti, Post Malone, and 21 Savage are known worldwide for their influence and impact on the music industry. They all have one thing in common: they started on SoundCloud. 

Puerto Rican Rapper and Singer “Bad Bunny” was named Spotify’s top artist of 2020 with over 8 billion Spotify streams and the most worldwide streams of 2020. Bad Bunny’s career began in high school when he was encouraged by his peers to record his freestyles and post them on the internet. He used SoundCloud as a way to upload his music and start a career as a Spanish rapper. He used SoundCloud as a way to upload his music and start a career as a Spanish rapper. Shortly after posting his first song “Diles” to SoundCloud, Bad Bunny would have to take bathroom breaks during his work shift to answer calls from producers. His song skyrocketed to over 1 million streams in just two weeks and currently has over 16 million plays on SoundCloud. His career and talent continued to expand in Latin America and the US. Thanks to SoundCloud, he would go on to have 28 songs in the Billboard’s Hot 100 and collaborations with Drake, Nicki Minaj, and 21 Savage.

In 2015, Atlanta Trap artist Playboi Carti teamed up with Ethereal to create the song “Beef” which blew up on SoundCloud. The song was resurfaced in 2019 when ATL native Flo Milli remixed it and became an icon for women in the hip-hop community. 

Shortly after, SoundCloud had another hit bubbling in the underground. In 2019, New York rapper Lil Tecca released his song “Ransom” which would make him an internet sensation and bring him a feature from popular trap artist Juice WRLD.

“Ransom” by Lil Tecca Featuring Juice WRLD (Directed By Cole Bennett)

Kid THRAXX, a melodic trap rapper from Silver Spring, said, “I believe SoundCloud has allowed underground artists to make a future for themselves and has also allowed people to create new sounds in hip hop.”

Music would not be where it lays without SoundCloud.

— Connor O'Keefe

SoundCloud has over two times the number of songs in its library compared to Spotify and Apple music, allowing its users to explore a wider variety of new sounds. It’s also essential to gaining popularity. Today, creating a Spotify account and an Apple music account is a huge step towards becoming a known musician but when it comes to growth, SoundCloud is at the center of many hip hop sensations.

According to Flor Zaccagnino, a marketing professional for BunnyStudio, SoundCloud is easy and simple to use which is a huge reason as to why so many beginners use it. It also comes with a comment feature that allows anyone listening to the song to comment at a certain time frame. This feature plays into the high amount of support and criticism that SoundCloud users get when making music.

SoundCloud has been proven to work for many new rappers and will continue to act as a crutch in the music industry. Hip-hop without SoundCloud is like a bike with no training wheels.

Kid THRAXX (Aaron Halavis) from Silver Spring MD –

Iwurstt (Connor O’Keefe) from Frederick MD –