RaneRaps – Step One [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words​

Uncompromising. Visceral. Vivacious.

What is the biggest challenge of being an independent artist today?

The “always on” content creation culture is an absolute nightmare! Building a following and creating platform-specific content across the many social media apps is a massive challenge. All for the sake of directing them to stream/buy your music! It seems that in orderto release a 3-minute song these days, you need to do everything but make good music. Launching a dance challenge, daily Tik Tok skits, and recording every moment for vlog content shouldn’t be a MUST for a song or artist to achieve some velocity. I find it grossly unsustainable and just flat out exhausting. It makes me feel like I’m not doing enough for mycareer because I’m not everywhere or everywhere all of the time.

Ultimately, I rather sharpen my songwriting, production, and other skills that translate intobecoming a master musician, not take on the role of content-creator for the sake of beating an algorithm.

What would be your dream performance venue?

I’d love to play a sold-out crowd in a massive arena like the Staples Center. While I do appreciate the intimacy of smaller venues, playing a large stage just feels right. And with my ego, I tell myself that I deserve it. I know I can make the world move.

In fact, I always picture my performance and the crowd reaction when I write songs. I grew up in the church and witnessed first-hand how “call and response” creates larger than life moments. Anyone who’s ever been to a RaneRaps show knows I leave it all on stage (even at risk of injury haha) for the sake of their enjoyment. The “I” becomes “we” when the crowd is singing back your lyrics, flailing about, and unapologetically letting loose to free their mind,body, and spirit.

And it’s the collective experience that fills me with joy. I love my life as is and derive happiness from simple things, but performing music reminds me how it feels to be alive and I chase that endorphin release continuously.

Why not achieve bliss on a large stage in front of thousands of fans? The more happiness I can impart on the world in this limited time that I’m allowed, the better.

You have already been featured in Spotify editorial playlists. Is Spotify the musicindustry’s new Gatekeepers?

Spotify is premier in breaking artists. It’s the nature of the game when so much of the industry is run by the algorithm, numbers, and playlisting. Granted you’re not guaranteed along career if you land on Rap Caviar but a Spotify cosign can create stars seemingly overnight. It’s the possibility of discoverability that keeps us musicians chasing success with playlists – most notably Spotify editorial playlists. And being discovered for one good song and following it up with another can take you from mom’s basement to label meetings and now the cover of that very playlist you were first discovered on. Slow growth (which most of us experience) is better than no growth but who could say no to ​accelerated​ growth? Sign me up and sign me up now!

Best Hip-Hop album ever?

A tough one indeed! I love so many albums for different reasons but I’ll go with OutKast’s “ATLiens”.

ATLiens caught my ear, from the instrumentals to the lyrics themselves. I spend a lot of time alone and the storytelling in their songs sounds like thoughts you’d have on a random Tuesday at 3:43pm. Oddly specific description I understand but my point is aside from late in the night, that’s probably when you’ll catch yourself reflecting on life and assessing all of the wins, conflicts, and more surrounding you at the time.While I don’t agree with all of thegroup’s stances on certain issues, I love their willingness to hold steadfast to their individualand collective identities, deliver tough love much like an older brother would, and vulnerably ponder life in front of us all as if they were thinking aloud.

A close second would be A Tribe Called Quest’s “The Low End Theory”. I listened to this album a lot in high school, but what made it special was the carpools to school with my younger brother. Our commute was at least 35 minutes each morning, so we had a lot of time to bond. It was magical trading lyrics with him to our favorite ATCQ songs. Seeing him happy and enjoying life made me cry tears of joy inside. Til this day he knows those songs just as well as he did then and I can hear him bumping them on occasion.

What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

Fun fact: I usually binge movies about every 5-6 weekends when I need to recharge creatively. However, I haven’t watched movies so much in quarantine, so the films I’m choosing from are a bit slim. The best film would have to be Sweeney Todd. Yes, I’m ​just now​ seeing it in 2020. But, I can explain! That movie traumatized me since I first saw the trailer. I love gore but as a kid, it was simply too much. Earlier this year I was speaking to a friend about it and she revealed that it’s in fact a musical of all things. In true RaneRaps fashion, I added it to My List on Netflix and put it off for another few weeks.

When I finally dug into it, I had the time of my life. The grim story drew me in and the aesthetic… *chefs kiss*. The building tension to Johnny Depp enacting revenge on LordTurpin was a tough one but my desires were finally met. And while it didn’t inspire a ​song(dear Lord, I hope I wouldn’t be role-playing a demon barber lol), it refreshed my creativity and allowed me to push onward in my quest to unite the world under this groove.

Any future plans?

My main plans for 2021: create more brand awareness with singles and release my debut album. My fan base knows ​exactly​ who I am: a wild man who happens to make wild music. I type this as I chant adlibs to myself… Anyways, the world at large (aka a large slice of theinternet) doesn’t know I exist. I want to change this by delivering singles that showcase myknack for catchy tunes that remain authentic to my life story. And when I’ve imprinted upon this larger audience great music and bring them into my world, I’ll deliver my debut album. Regardless, the album is coming Fall 2021 or earlier. And some may call me biased but thequality of music… it sounds like a greatest hits. I can’t wait!

Thank you!

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