Rapper gains following online and onstage

Rhyme, rhythm and flow, the three essential elements of rap music, have pulled in a generation of fans from all walks of life. This musical style has grown to be ubiquitous in many musical circles; rap is heard on the radio, inside stores, out of the headphones of those walking past.

Rap has not only hooked listeners; some have latched onto the style and made it their own.

“When I was in first grade, I heard a rap song for the first time, and I kind of just fell in love with the genre,” junior Duncan McGuire said. “When I was in third grade, I wrote my first song.”

McGuire pursued this early love fervently, entering into talent shows and other such events to show off his skills. This level of activity and interest remained constant until McGuire’s sophomore year, when a job landed him opportunities he could not previously afford.

“I bought a computer and an audio interface; with that, I started to record my songs and put them up [online]. Everyone started to listen to them,” McGuire said.

The internet creates a variety of opportunities for up-and-coming artists, allowing a difficult industry to break into to become more accessible for newcomers. Sites like Soundcloud, Youtube and Bandcamp host spaces for artists to put their music out to the public.

For some rappers, Soundcloud is the site of choice. Curators such as renowned rapper Snoop Dogg have been known to comb the site to discover worthy artists to fund. Soundcloud has also helped facilitate the underground rap scene, an evolution of the mixtape craze in the 80s and 90s.

‘It’s been almost exactly a year, and I have 200,000 listens on Soundcloud,” McGuire said.

Taking on the stage name “Duzzy,” McGuire has continued to push out new songs online. Since his debut, McGuire has also recently celebrated his first live performance.

“The concert was amazing,” McGuire said. “I went in thinking that I’d be really nervous; when I got on the stage, I saw people staring–then I started.”

Music-lovers from around the area congregated to listen to a lineup of artists perform at Imurj, a venue in Raleigh that advertises itself to emerging artists. For a total fee of $200, artists are given the stage to perform; ticket sales go straight to the performer.

“The place was really nice, and I think it was a great spot for his first performance,” junior Preston Sprague said. “The crowd was so funny, everyone was shocked to hear how good Duncan was; they were dancing and going crazy.”

Live performances come with the added benefit of increased exposure to the community.

“I hadn’t known Duzzy prior to his performance; I was one of the other performers in the showcase. It was a good feeling, being able to support someone I barely new like I’d known them for years,” musician Asher Goins said.

Fans of McGuire view the concert as a massive success.

“When it was his time came, he lit up,” Goins said. “He electrified the stage and the crowd;he has a great energy, the type of energy that gives you energy.”

McGuire attributes much of his overall success to his years of experience; another important factor is his devotion to the musical process.

“I write almost every day. I’ll sit in my room and think of a flow, a rhyme, a metaphor,” McGuire said.

For aspiring artists, McGuire’s tips are simple.

“Don’t spend too much at first. Make sure you have people listen to your music before you put it out so that you know how other people feel about it–someone who’s not a yes man, or else you’ll never get better,” McGuire said.