What it means to be a real SoundCloud rapper

An inside look into the musical world of Lil Dahroo


Screenshot taken from Spotify

“Mainstream pop [provided me with the most inspiration] I guess, because I can find melodies in there that I really like and also hip hop and rap.” Zhou said.

Yulee Kang, Staff Writer

“And you hate to see us winning, but we up here 22. Yeah, you can’t tell us nothing, we be pullin’ through. On the roof on top with all the views, techie twenties and the crew. Sophomores we want more, so we’re coming for you.”

The familiar lyrics of this year’s sophomore homecoming class song (written and sung by Lil Dahroo, SRN Dap God, Qube, Twenty Tupac, Paarth, and Vivi) were one of sophomore Lil Dahroo’s first produced and published songs on SoundCloud. 

Lil Dahroo, also known as Andrew Zhou, is an independent SoundCloud rapper. He has created songs such as “No Love” or “Use a Clown”, which currently total over 890 listens together. Zhou also creates music collaborations with other rappers such as JJLee, another independent rapper from TJ. 

But everyone has to start somewhere. Zhou’s musical career began when he started playing the piano at the mere age of six.

“When I was young I started playing the piano, maybe around the age of six, and then gradually I started expanding my music space into more like hip hop and rap.” Zhou said, “I found that I could apply my piano experience to that, so I started making beats. And then I went even further and started making songs.”

In the past few months, Zhou has released six new rap-style songs. The most recent song  “Underground” was released on SoundCloud two days ago. So how does one manage producing music as frequently as Lil Dahroo and still manage their in-school and out-of-school schedule?

“That really depends on how much homework I have and how many upcoming projects there are. I have track practice every day as well. If I can I’ll fit in like 30 minutes a day, but on long weekends I can usually work on several hours of music.”

For other aspiring artists out there, Zhou says expanding your music taste or being more open to other types of music even if they are out of your comfort zone or normal listening range is important to expand your musical knowledge and get inspiration. 

“If you’re looking to become a music producer, something I find helpful is listening to a wide variety of music.” Zhou said, “It often gives you inspiration and what you really need is that inspiration because some days I’ll take an hour to come up with a single line but other days I’ll be able to write an entire song in an hour so just look for things in your life that provide inspiration.”