Starting young: Krop’s teen rappers

Some of the most successful rappers have been known for starting their careers as high school students. Sophomore Justin Rodriguez and junior Dave Cinea might just follow in those footsteps.

Rodriguez began rapping in 2020 to keep himself busy during quarantine. He started off by sending voice memos of his raps to his friends, but it quickly turned into a hobby for him. Rodriguez  made music speaking on his experience about having to stay home all the time and how his life changed throughout 2020.

Inspired by Drake, Rodriguez has produced 20 songs and released four on SoundCloud under the rap name Pradajuju, which was inspired by the phrase “proud of you.” He chose it because he thought it sounded different from other artists. 

“I like to rap about life or just how I’m feeling at the time,” Rodriguez said. 

In his song “Maybe,” Rodriguez raps about his friends, and how they’re always going out and making money. He also raps about hustling and any accomplishments recently made in his life.

Depending on Rodriguez’s imagination, coming up with lyrics and music normally take up to three or four days, while production could take weeks.  

“Sometimes a good lyric will come to me in class,” Rodriguez said. “So I’ll quickly write it down and try to make something of it when I get home.”

While he does write his own lyrics, he gets inspired by other artists he hears on the radio or clips from Instagram. He starts production by searching for a beat to match the lyrics that come to mind. After finalizing his beat and lyrics, he begins putting it all together, creating the chorus and making any finishing touches. 

“I could possibly see myself doing this in the future,” Rodriguez said. “I like to keep options and rapping is definitely one of them.” 

Junior Dave Cinea started rapping around 2021 after being inspired by his brother’s music.

“My brother has always motivated me,” Cinea said. “He shows me his lyrics in the car and is always rapping in front of me showing off his music.” 

While no artist particularly inspired Cinea, his brother considerably impacted him when it came to rapping. He has since produced and released 13 songs and released music on all platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Soundcloud under the name Kidjunki. 

“My brother took me to his studio and I hadn’t come up with a name yet,” Cinea said. “So I just started saying random things until I came up with Kidjunki.” 

Production starts with Cinea’s producer Nas coming up with a beat to which he freestyles in search of lyrics. Following that, Cinea heads to the studio with his engineer where he executes his performance to assemble his latest track. The making of the beat and lyrics may take a set amount of time, while production in the studio can take up to 30 minutes. 

While both students enjoy rapping, they have other aspirations if a career in music doesn’t pan out. Rodriguez plans to study Criminal Justice in college and Cinea has hopes of becoming a realtor. However, both agreed that no matter what the outcome, rapping is something they will always do in their free time.