In today’s increasingly hip-hop and rap oriented culture, many teens have been beginning to embrace such genre of music and producing their own tracks. Driven by the desire for fame, influence, wealth, or whatnot, eager high school students want to establish themselves in the industry. They are highly motivated and regard such a feat as achievable, especially with artists such as “Desiigner” or “Lil’ Yachty” who rose to fame seemingly “overnight” with a single hit.
At a local level, such a trend toward hip hop fame is evident. At West Ranch High School, a public school located in Valencia, California, there are a select number of students who produce and record their own, original tracks. In terms of promoting their music, Soundcloud, an online audio distribution platform, is the perfect outlet. It is free to upload, convenient to use, and used daily by a plethora of people who are looking to discover new music.
As or recently, one particular male rapper has risen to the spotlight at the school. Sophomore Minjoon Kang, also known by his stage name “IV”, produces and records his own original rap songs. He utilizes electronic software and equipment to generate uplifting, unique beats with fun, catchy verses. In an interview with JSR, he explained how, “Rap is definitely an outstanding genre of music. Hate it or love it, it’s a widely popular platform for people to spread poetry in an unfiltered way.”
IV, being Korean-American, additionally blends the two cultures in several of his rap songs, often switching languages and making distinct cultural references. This unique aspect of his music is also what sets him apart from other rappers and makes his songs so idiosyncratic.
After IV’s music gained considerable popularity this past year, especially from friends and family, he humbly embraced it and simply continued with his own way of producing music and carving his way through the industry. In fact, this year, he challenged himself and attended the L.A. auditions for Show Me the Money 6, a Korean hip hop competition, to showcase his skills and hopefully move on to the preliminaries.
Locally, Minjoon has, to this point, not disappointed with his new songs nor brashly declared his music as exceptional himself. In terms of inspiration and goals, he looks up to a variety of famous rappers including iconic figures such as Big Sean, Eminem, and BeWhy. He aims to deliver the same emotion and meaning via his music as these artists have done to impact people.
Later, when asked about why he raps, IV commented, “I rap because it is the thing that I am most passionate about. It makes me feel a variety of polar emotions and I feel like I’m good.”
Looking forward, it is simply almost impossible to tell where student Minjoon Kang will progress in school or where rapper IV will end up in the music industry. The latter’s involvement in the rap genre, in a sense, gives insight about the type of popular culture that exists in today’s society. After all, rapping is a popular and outstanding way to deliver a message to the masses while also becoming a renowned figure.