Hip-hops latest generational fad, SoundCloud rappers

Ciara O'Loughlin uncovers the world of SoundCloud rappers

From face tattoos to coloured hair, criminal convictions and misogynistic lyrics, SoundCloud rappers are the newest addition to the hip-hop family and they are taking the charts by storm. 

The sub-genre, SoundCloud rap, comes from the online distribution platform SoundCloud. Artists can post their music on the site for free, which has led to many musicians gaining huge recognition without being signed to a music label. The genre is also known as “mumble” or “emo” rap. These terms have expanded to include rappers that put little emphasis on lyricism. 

Every generation has a new music genre that the one above them does not understand. For teenagers in the late 00s early 10s this was electronic music. For teenagers today it is SoundCloud rap.

As of August this year three out of the 10 most streamed songs on Spotify are by SoundCloud rappers. This includes 6ix9ine, Juice Wrld and XXXTentacion. Post Malone, although not defined as a SoundCloud rapper, also started out on the online streaming site. His 2017 number-one song “rockstar” is the fourth-most streamed song ever on Spotify.

A rapper that has “Lil” at the start of their rap-name is also a tell-tale sign that they are a SoundCloud rapper. The most popular of these are Lil Xan and  Lil Pump. But what is the biggest thing that they all seem to have in common?

They are controversial in one way or another, with most holding serious criminal convictions.

Last February Lil Pump, aged 17, was arrested for a firing a handgun outside his home in California. The rapper is most commonly known for his No.3 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Gucci Gang”.

In 2015 6ix9ine, known for his infamous “69” face tattoo on the right side of his forehead and for his song “FEFE” featuring Nikki Minaj, pled guilty to felony charges of “use of a child for a sexual performance”. He has also served jail time for assault and selling heroin as a minor.

The rapper is now 22 and current reports say that he could be facing a minimum of 32 years in prison. According to E! News he has most recently been indicted on six counts: conspiracy with others to commit racketeering, committing a crime of violence in aid of racketeering, discharging a firearm while committing a crime, with a dangerous weapon, and carrying a firearm.

XXXTENTACION had accusations of several violent crimes, one of those being the alleged kidnapping of his then-pregnant girlfriend at the beginning of 2017.

On June 18th of this year the SoundCloud rapper community was brought to shock with the death of the 20-year-old star. His real name is Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy and he was shot and killed in an apparent robbery in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

The day after his death Taylor Swifts’s single-day streaming record for her hit  “Look What You Made Me Do” was broken by XXXTENTACION’s “Sad!”.

The single received 10.4 million streams on June 19th, 2018, the day after his death. 


Ciara O’Loughlin

Image credit: heavy.com