Not many teens get the chance to be a rapper. Or compete in a contest to become famous. Kenny Yates, a senior at Pitman High School in Turlock, has the chance to do just that.
Yates has auditioned for TeamBackPack contest. TeamBackPack is an organization that brings together artists who aren’t signed to a record label to promote their music and generate fans. Its online presence spans a web page, Twitter and Facebook to reach a diverse audience of teens and young adults. The contest winner will have a music video (cypher) posted online that will introduce him or her to the TeamBackPack world.
To help publicize his music, Yates performs at Pitman High during rallies and outdoor activities, including the recent Hoopscoming rally.
He spoke with Teens in the Newsroom about his hobby and the opportunities it has led to.
How long have you been rapping?
I have been rapping since I was in eighth grade. Granted, I wasn’t that good, but I held onto it. What mainly got me into rapping was just listening to some of my favorite artists: Tech N9ne, Eminem, Run DMC and many, many more. Eventually, I boiled it all down and turned it into my own style.
Where do you get the ideas for your rapping material?
I mainly find my ideas by personal experiences and just messing around and having fun with it. I think of a small line here, then another small line down the road, and the next thing I know, I have a whole song done.
What part of rapping is most interesting to you?
My favorite part of rapping is being able to use certain words or phrases together that people would’ve never thought would work. Also, it is my form of meditation. I can be in the worst mood of my life and just rap all of the pain and stress away. It is my outlet.
How do you create your music and what tools do you use?
I can’t afford to buy a program so I can make my own music. All I have is a mike, a laptop, a mini recording tool, a closet and whatever YouTube has to offer me.
How does Team Backpack determine who is the next big thing?
TeamBackPack doesn’t pick you just off of how many views you have (of your audition tape) – it just helps because they would see that the video has been getting a lot of attention and that they should keep their eyes on you. TeamBackPack will be emailing selected rappers soon. I have until May 16 to get as many views as I can before the live auditions begin that same day. The competition is an online audition round, then a live audition round preceding the filmed TeamBackPack cypher for the winner.
Has your interest in music influenced your college or career choices?
Music has definitely influenced what I want to do with my future. I’m going to be attending CSU Stanislaus, next fall, and I am going to major in music technology, which will help me learn how to create my own works. I would love to one day make a living off of music.