Rap culture hits LN as student artists produce music and beats

Tony Reeves, Staff Member

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As the rap and hip-hop genre expands and becomes 2017’s most bought and listened to genre of music, according to Billboard.com, LN features many of its own rappers, such as Junior Kevin Jones.
“I was freestyling for a couple years then one day a friend had me record with him and people started to listen and like it,” Jones said.
After freestyling for three years Jones decided to begin making music for himself.
“After a year of me recording and just messing around, I started to take it seriously,” Jones said.
With rap music becoming more listened to than rock, many wonder why its popularity has risen. Junior Donovan Green thinks rap’s style is what makes it so popular.
“Its style and charisma, its pizzazz, its whatever you call it. Most people will gravitate to rap music and their artists based off of their rap,” Green said.
He is also a rapper at LN who goes by the name of Dono Deuce.
“I came up with it because Dono comes from my first name and Deuce comes from me being the second child of my mother and father. It just lined up perfectly,” Green said.
Rappers often make themselves a rapper or stage name to go by. Jones made his “Sweven” a play on his first name Kevin.
“That’s a funny story actually. My stage name is Sweven because my three-year-old brother was having trouble saying Kevin and he would say Sweven instead. My mom jokingly said it should be my rapper name, and I laughed her off then, but when I became serious with rapping I took it,” Jones said.
Green has been working on his craft for about six years, rapping since the sixth grade.
“When I talk to others about it, they might think, ‘Oh, he’s just another Sound Cloud Rapper’ since everyone wants to rap now. I want to prove others wrong while doing what I love,” Green said.
Both Green and Jones want to making rapping a career for themselves, and while rapping can be very lucrative for mainstream and famous rappers, it does not pay well for underground or local artists. This does not matter to Green, however.
“It’s something that I’m very passionate about,” Green said.
With rap’s popularity overcoming rock, it’s no surprise to hear music flowing from the headphones of students around LN.
“I think it’s about popularity, among others, to an extent. When you know how to put words together and make it sound cool and rhyme, popularity comes with it,” Green said.
Although rapping is like poetry, it isn’t as easy as it may seem to most. From finding a topic to write about, making the beats, and everything in between, there are many difficulties.
“I have to be in the right environment to write lyrics. I can sit one week and write a lot, but the next week I might not be able to write anything,” Jones said.
Both Jones and Green find a beat that they want to write their song to before they begin to write lyrics.
“I usually play around with stuff until I find a sound that I want, mess around with the layers and run with it. Sometimes I get frustrated and I try to come back to it later,” Green said.
Jones benefits from his father’s college education when making his music.
“I get my beats from Youtube and use Garageband to record and use a microphone. My dad went to Full Sail University and he lets me use his recording equipment and computer. I’ll find a beat and then play it back to back and think of a chorus first, because that’s what people remember more, and then go into my verses,” Jones said.
That is similar to what Green does.
“Usually I start with a beat first and then I make something that goes with it. Other times if I just feel like writing I go off the top with it,” Green said.
For both artists, their feelings play a major role on how their lyrics are created.
“I have to be in a vibe and be by myself,” Jones said.
A quirk of Jones is that he has to record and write alone, as it is his personal comfort as an artist.
“My raps don’t have a set topic, but it’s whatever my feelings and mood are. Sometimes I’m feeling conscious and other times I’m feeling ‘like get money’. It’s whatever I’m feeling,” Green said.
After creating their respective music, they upload their songs to SoundCloud, an online audio distribution platform that enables its users to upload, record, promote and share their originally-created sounds. These rappers are referred to as “Sound Cloud Rappers” which originally was an insult, since artists who post on Sound Cloud were thought of as amateurish and less talented than mainstream artists. The label of being a “Sound Cloud Rapper” has changed in the recent year as more people began to listen to music and follow artists on the platform, leading to the fame of musicians such as Lil Pump and Robb Bank$, who now millions of people listen to on Sound Cloud, Apple Music and the radio.
Green’s Sound Cloud profile can be found be searching for his stage name ‘Dono Deuce’ where his most listened to song is “Gimme Some Mo.”
Jones can be found by searching for his stage name as well, ‘Sweven.’
“You can find ‘Grams,’ ‘Money Team’ and my first song ‘Dat Work’ on there,” Jones said.
Green’s goal from rapping isn’t to become rich or famous, which he wouldn’t mind if it did happen, but to put Indianapolis on the rapping map.
“I think my ultimate goal would be to give back as much as possible, not only to the youth but to the city because this city has talent. We just don’t have the tools to be a popular pipeline state or city like Chicago and Atlanta,” Green said. “I want our city to be successful for rapping. Once one person moves out though, it’ll never stop.”

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