The figures we mock the most might just be the ones who represent us best.
Gazzy Garcia, better known as "Lil Pump," just hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 with his two-minute "Gucci Gang," the shortest song to break the Top 10 since 1975. Lil Pump is enjoying mainstream success now, but we can’t forget where his career started off: the Miami SoundCloud rap scene.
SoundCloud itself has only existed for 10 years, so SoundCloud rap is essentially a totally new phenomenon. In addition to releasing music, self-promotion is a significant facet of SoundCloud culture. Rappers exist largely outside of the mainstream music industry, and their only option to get attention is to persistently push their content on social media and beyond. Some are notorious for taking the self-promotion to an extreme, pushing their mixtapes as responses to every Tweet by famous rappers who have made it big:
What with its tendency to produce "bad music" and its incessant urging you to "bump" mixtapes, SoundCloud rap gets a lot of flack from the mainstream. Even we, the self-proclaimed "open-minded," often ignore or even laugh at local music without giving it a second glance, or even a first one.
However, the struggle that SoundCloud rappers experience is largely the same one we all go through – the quest for social mobility. Rap is, for them, a passion. Beyond that, it is a potential pathway to a better life. Even the most serious of underground rappers wouldn’t spit a single verse if they didn’t believe, even if only a little bit, that their hard work could one day bring them the recognition they deserve. That is the point when any mere hobby can become a lifestyle.
That is the same reason why student athletes put in long hours in the gym and on the field, practicing their skills even when their fundamentals are sound. It’s the the same reason why bloggers post their articles on Facebook, Reddit, and every social medium known to humanity. It’s also the same reason why some of your colleagues work overtime, staying additional hours to complete objectives ahead of schedule. No matter what you’re passionate about, somewhere in your heart, you believe that it will elevate you past the hand life has dealt you, and into the position you believe is rightfully yours. Whether we’re gunning for a Heisman, establishing a platform, or trying to get promoted, we are all SoundCloud rappers, just trying to get our latest single to crack the Top 10. Go ahead and drop your mixtape.