Chance The Rapper and SoundCloud Rap

(photo courtesy of ABC/Fred Lee)

If you’re pro-SoundCloud, things might have seemed grim the last few weeks. When reports of 40% layoffs and only being fully funded until Q4 of this year were passed down, the internet went into a panic. The potential loss of the service would be detrimental to more than just musicians: podcasters, DJs making mixes, and a plethora of other audio arts—hundreds of thousands of hours of material would be effectively lost or obscured to fringes.

SoundCloud rap became a sub genre of its own, an audible do-it-yourself scene that emerged from teenagers and less publicized artists dumping lo-fi musical ideas and qualities with minimal judgement. The worst part of this incumbent failure is an age old story: it all boils down to not having enough money.

In steps Chance The Rapper:

After a series of tweets announcing his lunch with SoundCloud, where he said the service was “here to stay,” and after a small campaign urging his followers to @ their favorite rapper you discovered via SoundCloud and link him personally to their favorite tracks, the whole ordeal seemed to be looking up.

While it looks as if the anxiety has cooled down, Chance reminds us that social media platforms aren’t just for creeping on exes or mindless consumption: it can be a tool for empathy and a way to effectively reach out to our communities—not just a physical communities but are ever-important online ones. Music is universal and we need to protect the avenues that allow us to totally be ourselves. Even if you’re not a subscriber to the music of Smokepurpp, or Terrance Escobar or Divine Council or Noname or Lil Peep or Mozzy or Little Simz or Brockhampton (should I keep going…), it’s important to Hip Hop culture and its further development that we cement these venues for expression.

You don’t have to make “positive music” like Chance to make a positive impact. I hope other artists follow this example.

Credit: Marcus Scott Williams

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