For the past few years, a Cole Bennett-direct music video means you’ve either made or you’re moments from becoming the next media darling. The young Chicago creative and founder of Lyrical Lemonade is responsible for breaking careers—Lil Skies, Ski Mask The Slump God, Lil Xan, Juice WRLD—and cultivating his very own editing style. While a majority of the artists Bennett has worked with fall under the "SoundCloud rapper" banner, Bennett actually believes SoundCloud rap is a thing of the past.
“I think SoundCloud rap is essentially no longer a thing,” Bennett told Complex. “Unless you want to put a label on people who actually blew up from it over the past couple years, but I don't think anyone coming out now is a SoundCloud rapper, so to say. I think SoundCloud is getting used less and less every day because of how easy it is to get your music on Apple Music and Spotify. Anyone can do it now, so I think a lot of people are taking that route and just skipping over the whole SoundCloud step. They also upload their music to SoundCloud, but it's not as much of a thing as it used to be. And I think it used to be such a big thing just because Spotify and Apple Music felt inaccessible to some of these younger artists.”
With streaming services opening their doors to indie artists, Bennett is absolutely right. SoundCloud is no longer the wild wild West of hip-hop music and is no longer the only recourse an indie artist has to get their music heard. No wonder Juice WRLD shies away from the moniker.
Of course, the blown out and aggressive aesthetics of the SoundCloud rap era are still prevalent in today’s music. As are the emotive sensibilities and winding drug talk. But SoundCloud is no longer the platform for emerging artists to break and cultivate their fan bases.
As Saweetie told us, social media is the gatekeeper now. Artists stand a better chance of going viral on Twitter and working with fans directly, uploading to traditional streaming platforms, than they do trying to pop on SoundCloud.
If none of those options seem ideal, there is always Audiomack, the artist-first streaming service dedicated to moving music forward!
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