Parsons School of Design
BFA Communication Design
Thesis 2018

The Aesthetic of SoundCloud Rap
Daniela Al-Saleh

SoundCloud rap is a label used to describe a unique rap genre that gained massive recognition in mainstream pop culture in 2017. The tracks vary in melodies and style and are often characterized by a lo-fi sound. As a long-time rap/hip-hop listener, I was both interested and unsure of this new sound. I took this project as an opportunity to research the shifting ecosystem of today’s rap scene. An important trademark of SoundCloud rap is the fluidity of style, where the lines between genres are completely disregarded. However, what is equally as important are the visuals that are associated with it. Music videos are psychedelic, filled with colorful bursts of animation. They’re a combination of low-budget treatments and trippy edits that create a certain visual aesthetic of SoundCloud rap.

For my thesis, I’ve created a number of music videos and series of posters that not only attempt to mimic those characteristic visuals but also work to reflect the rough-hewn quality of SoundCloud tracks. Stock footage of people in stereotypical suburbia constitutes the entire video as most SoundCloud rappers are from suburbia or small towns. Each video features a track by different individual SoundCloud rappers in order to better understand the range and extent of what SoundCloud rap entails. The posters work as an add-on to the narrative of the video, reflecting the rough-sketch quality of SoundCloud and the wide accessibility to the music industry it’s given to essentially anyone with a computer and a mic.

Maxine Joy Almendra

Daniela Al-Saleh

Amon Dario Appelt

Shruti Ashok

Whitney Badge

Jaire Berkel

Ingrid Bonetti

Victoria Boyd

Madison Bozinoff

Malulani Bria

Kaylin Brown

Rachel Brownjohn

Olive Burd

Germán Castellanos Reyes

Madeline Cericola

Vicky Chau

Amber Chen

Victor Chen

Wendy Ching

Connie Chu

Channon Chung

Leonardo Cilmi

Emma T. Conway

Nicole Corso

Qamile Dani

Magdalena de la Torre Suárez

Amanda Ericson

Dan Feldman

Anna Feng

Natalia Flores

Peter Frasco

Lucia Garza

Mariana Gaviria

Mikey Hefez

Adrianna Hinsey

Avinash Hirdaramani

Marielle Holland

Grace Hong

Surkho Shane Hong

Pauline Hotelier

Dylan Hughes

Jiyoung Hwang

Sonali Jain

Andrea S. Jassir

Christina Jenkins

Maria Jessica

Erin Johnston

Javarius Jones

Yea Ji Jung

Rachel Kahn

Anastasia Kharchenko

Jonathan Haojaq Kho

Alexa Kim

Cindy Dawon Kim

Sang Dennis Kim

Somin Kim

Yoonji Kim

Kyungmin Ko

Sidney Law

Kevin Lee

Jane Lee

Matheus Dal Santo Lewis Sage Smith

Kristiana Marcon

Hannah Marshall

Kruti Mehta

Gabriel Mester

Charlotte Miller

Mintra Morrison

Tamir Moses

Kaisha Murzamadiyeva

Thomas Nghia Nguyen

Lanie Nowak

Satoe Onizuka

Steven Orts

Owen Pace

Tatyana Palacios

Herin Park

Olga Pavlova

Luli Peralta-Esquivel

Lindsay Petricca

Constanza Pinto

Shreya Razak

Costanza Reiser

Vincent Riportella

Bateel Saber

Ahana Seth

Cristina Soberon

Rebecca Speiser

Natalia Spotts

Sabrina Steck

JD Stephenson Jr.

Richard Supriano

Eden Tartour

Jissaura Taveras Hernandez

Nathalia Tello Arias

Liz Tsai

Altyn Turdukulova

Amena Tyebji

Gabriela Vieira

Juan Diego Villegas

Yige Wang

Evelyn Wu

Jessie Yao

Crystal Yin

Rebecca Jiayi Zhou