When you first listen to American rapper StuDaGreat on BandLab, you’ll make a couple of mental notes.
1) He rocks a strong DIY aesthetic of classic rhymes, with generous drops of the ‘n’ word and a slew of hustling hip-hop tropes. The man’s confident. You only need to check out his profile picture of him casually holding stacks of dollar bills to see it.
2) You’ll hear echoes of Biggie Smalls, Red Man and other rappers with a laid-back, lazy flow. He tells us “I’m just an East Coast nigga with some Cali swag”, on ‘West Coast Shit’, “Me and @KidMurrder (his collaborator) and we came to spit.”
So, we know his game is strong. But what helps StuDaGreat get there? And what’s the story behind his rap heroes, his creative process, and his favourite guy in tights?
Tell us how dope you are, exactly
I feel like I’m a diverse artist. My tracks are primarily rap right now, but I do have a pop track with me and SlapQueen. I want to create something for people to go, “Aw man, that was a dope song, I wanna listen to it again.” I try to create something that is so dope that people can’t deny it, they just got to give in to it.
You rap a lot about hustling and making it big. Who are your favourite real life hustlers?
I admire Jay-Z because of what he did with rap. He made music and he created business outlets to become one of the most successful rappers ever. I’m just at a loss for words when it comes to Jay-Z. Every move he makes as an artist is strategic, and those moves always pay off, every single time.
I’m also a big fan of Kanye West. Before he was a rapper, he was a producer, and made some of the best beats you could ever hear. I’m a big fan of his artistry. He creates some of the best music and beats. When I listen to his albums, I get really lost in them. The way Kanye West makes music makes me want to create something special.
Tell us about a turning point in music for you.
I think my most powerful experiences with music are those days when I hear the beats, and I don’t have to write to them. I can record and rap the rhymes instantly because the beats get me hooked.
I keep reciting the words. I’ll be quite occupied with them by the time I walk to the grocery store, or when I get to work. I’m creating a song in my head as I go. When it’s time to record, I just spit the words in my head. Sometimes I just know exactly what to say.
Tell us more about how you use BandLab.
I think that BandLab is one of the best apps to raise yourself as an artist and to showcase their musical talents. I record on it with my bluetooth earphones, on my android phone.
I have the app, but I also have it on my desktop computer, so in the future I’ll buy a microphone. I also design the covers for my songs.
How did you discover BandLab?
I heard about BandLab from some associates from another app. Probably 100 people from that app came over to BandLab, and I’ve been trying to get others on to it, sending them links to join the community. I’ve been with BandLab for slightly over a year now.
If you could bring the hurt as a superhero, who would you choose to be?
I’m a big Dark Knight fan, so it would have to be Batman. I’ve got a friend who hates him – thinks he’s just a regular guy in tights, and I agree, but he’s something more.
There’s something cool about this guy who has all the money and he’s so messed up that he has to put on a suit to fight crime.
Batman’s weakness is that he is human so he can die, and that’s my weakness too.