The Sound of Sleepy
December 12, 2018
As you roam through the halls of Sleepy Hollow High School, there’s a good chance you will hear loud music coming from a speaker in a student’s backpack or their headphones. Most of the time, the speakers will be playing the most popular rap track of the week, and students milling around will mouth along as they hear it. It’s safe to say that rap has mostly replaced pop and rock as Generation Z’s favorite genre, and that rap culture has strongly shaped teen fashion and slang.
One of the interesting details about modern rap culture is its Do It Yourself (or DIY, for short) ethic. Many breakout artists of the past few years, like Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, and Chance the Rapper, have started out their careers by posting tracks online to the platform SoundCloud. But this culture isn’t limited to rap stars; it has also triggered a wave of creation at Sleepy Hollow High School.
This SoundCloud-based wave consists of hundreds of self-recorded, self-produced tracks that Sleepy Hollow students can upload to the platform. SoundCloud, the platform itself, is a website where upstart creators can post their music and podcasts. It’s free to use at the basic level, and remains inexpensive at the “Pro” level, making it ideal for younger creators. Sleepy Hollow boasts many artists among its student body, some of them with Pro pages. Genre-wise, the tracks tend to fall into trap and hip-hop, but there are some students who produce instrumental tracks as well as melodic vocal ones. All combine their SoundCloud pages with social media to bring awareness to their tracks. Currently, two of the most popular Sleepy Hollow student artists are CHANGE (Connor Quinn-Ray) and Gorgeous Gucci Gabe (Gabe Barragry).
The three artists have similar influences in terms of lyrics but put their own style into the beats, samples, vocals, and instrumentals they record and collaborate on. Each artist gets a significant number of plays on their tracks, ranging from 100-13,000–and their support, obvious through those numbers, isn’t just from Sleepy Hollow. These numbers have caused these artists to become icons, of a sort, throughout the student body, and not a day goes by where at least one of their names isn’t floating through the hallway or on social media. They are “celebrities” in their own right.
This, evidently, brings the student body together on a shared cause: music made by their peers.
It’s very interesting to watch from the inside, as people do seem to genuinely enjoy their music. It’s easy to see why. The production value of each of their tracks is awe-inspiring, and the fact that art like this is being created by students who are setting their minds to it, no matter what amount of work they have, is impressive. These students are dedicated to their art and it shows, stemming a source of pride at Sleepy Hollow.
In addition to these local stars, there will always be smaller artists. I am a SoundCloud vocalist as well. Being an artist on this platform and being able to understand the varying emotions that go into this process can help me understand and empathize with the artists listed above, and I’m truly excited to see what the future holds for each of them and whether this culture will continue to flourish at Sleepy in the years to come.
Here’s where you can find the artists mentioned in this article:
CHANGE: @changeinprogress on Soundcloud
Gorgeous Gucci Gabe: @gorgeousguccigabe
acvm: @acvmmusic on Soundcloud