When people think about the music scene in Utah, rap may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But with a growing number of young rappers forming their own community, this could be changing.
Keith Peck and Kade Ballard are two young Utah rappers. Both have been writing and producing their music for about four years. For Peck, music is something he said helps him through his personal mental health struggles, not to mention the challenges brought on by 2020.
“It’s something that helps me out when I’m manic. I want to just help people, because that’s my ultimate goal is to teach people how to help themselves," he said.
“It’s just an art that calms me down," he said. "Especially with this year and everything that’s been going on it’s just been super, super important to me.”
When it comes to writing, Peck said even though he doesn’t want to hide heavy feelings or hard topics, he also wants people to understand the music isn’t only negative.
“The world doesn’t need that. The world is full of that. So that’s why I try to do uplifting as well. This is a journey," he said.
Peck said his biggest strength as a rapper is “going off the top'' or rapping freestyle. This is how he began as a rapper and the process also helps him with writing music.
“I’m getting better at making it so people can follow along with what I’m saying," he said. "But it’s also witty, it’s not just simple.”
Ballard said writing music is more of a process than most people realize. And those witty details Peck mentioned? Ballard said those are key.
“If you would take any little part of the song out, it would sound completely different," he said.
Ballard and Peck aren’t the only developing rap artists in Utah and Ballard is predicting the number will continue to grow as more rappers in the state increase in popularity.
“I’ve talked to a lot of artists from Utah who are growing and they’re finally getting the recognition they deserve," he said. "And hopefully in the next few years Utah will be up there with everybody else.”