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This week I was fortunate enough to meet with rapper Khekkedupnate, a local artist on campus, who was able to give me insight on his mindset while creating, and the adversities he faced in the process of growth. 

Nate has been making songs as Khekkedupnate, pronounced “checked up Nate,” since high school, when he would upload freestyle verses to SoundCloud. After taking a break, he has recently upped his game, starting again in 2022. “ I used to drop like every day….. I slowed it down to like every four days. Lately I’ve been doing it every week.” 

With 900 monthly listeners on Spotify, Nate explains how he uses other local rappers as a resource for motivation and a hub for audience growth. As he’s very focused on gaining exposure, his main method of promoting tracks is by getting audios/visuals posted to accounts online made for local rappers, shoutouts from others in the rap community, and even sharing using public UIC media stories.

One promo team in particular gave him the insight of finding “someone who you sound like, and then try to take their fans into yours.”

Khekkedupnate has even had the chance to encounter these local rappers in person, which he claims is one of the reasons he went public with his creativity. Upon meeting a fellow creator by the name of Bossman JD, he exclaims how JD was “just a regular dude,” and asked himself the question, “Why can’t I do it?”

This was a major break for him, as he faced opposition from many listeners in the beginning. One of the main obstacles he felt he had to deal with in the rap game was being Asian. Especially originally being located in Orlando, he found himself feeling isolated and claims he “heard everything in the book” when it came to negative critique.

Despite all this, the rapper doesn’t let the distaste get to him. Instead he holds to the value that if you don’t have people hating on your work, you’re doing something wrong. 

“It kind of made me who I am today, and it almost, like,  prepared me for this road. This is not for the weak. You have to learn how to deal with hate and rejection.”

At the moment Nate is “Just tryna work on [his] following and get [his] social media up.” He plans on going mainstream in order to release an E.P. Among some of the songs that Khekkedupnate has released at the moment, his recommendations include “John Wall” and “Island,” while he says fans currently enjoy “Thinking Bout You” and the ending verse of “Who Dat.”

Through coming forward with his music career he believes others are encouraged to try their hand in music as well. His advice for those following this same path is  “Don’t be scared. Who cares what people say…when I was first jumping into this I was thinking like ‘They’re saying I’m not gonna make it, but who are you?’” The artist and his listeners are eager and excited for the future of his verses.


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