Impressive Artist on the Rise: Siple
Not long ago, I was exploring rap on Spotify… yeah, I’m a rap junkie, so shoot me… when I had a real skrt moment, right in the middle of some playlist called ‘Real Rap’. Out of the blue, I hear these moody flute notes, and next thing I know, this 120 bpm track with its funky gong has me grooving to its high-energy, “gotta dance” grip. Obviously, the track, which is called ‘I’m Not The One’, had me clicking back to the artist’s profile – where I discovered that Siple, the artist, has several real bangers.
As I bopped Siple, I found myself totally hooked. ‘Piper Perri’ had me chillin to the raspy main character‒bass rapster combo, the instrumental refrain somehow reminding me of ‘Slim Shady’. ‘LOUDcation’ felt like a wake-up call, its staccato delivery at impactful odds with its high, 160 bpm tempo, and ‘Run It Up’ had a surreal sound like a nightmare-on-loop. The ‘Product Always Gold’ track blew my mind as much with its drippy horn-and-cello motif as its wordplay, while ‘F*ck With Me’ painted vivid word pictures that just stuck in my head, like, “I’ll lyrically murder you and let the vultures eat away”…
I had to meet this guy, I decided, and DMd him on Insta… a short week later, I was Zooming with Jonathan Velasquez, aka Siple, the rapper from San Jose, Cali. Talking to Siple was interesting and inspiring in unexpected ways, prompting me to share a condensed version of the chat with our readers here. In the excerpt below, Siple is denoted by ‘S’:
Q : Yo, Siple, I think we’re all curious to hear how you came by your artist name. Tell us a bit about that.
S: Yeah, I get asked that a lot… (laughs) ‘Siple’ is actually my take on ‘disciple’, which is an apt name, I guess, for an artist, ’coz I believe that an artist has got to learn and evolve constantly, if he wants to produce great music that his fans can relate to.
Q : Cool thought. What drove you to take up music, and rap, specifically? Have you always been interested in rap?
S : Y’know, I look back and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t listening to rap… I grew up in the ‘hyphy’ era, y’know? My earliest icons were Kanye and Lupe Fiasco and Atmosphere… with every song they released, they blew my mind. And later, I widened my listening to artists like Logic and J Cole and Big Sean… I’ve also been heavily influenced by MCs – their incredible lyrical ability, their wit. At present, I’m deeply into the music of Snow Tha Product, Russ, and Tyler The Creator. So yeah, it’s always been rap for me.
Q : You’ve got some fly background streams on some of your tracks, and I really dig the wordplay on some of them, too. What’s your take on the dominant element in rap?
S : Great question. I’ve seen rap evolve, from where it was mainly about lyrical expression, to today, when a lot of it is about the melodic signature… personally, I’m a huge fan of both styles, and I don’t think there’s just one way to rap. I think each song demands a different kind of balance from the artist.
Q : Now that you’ve got multiple hit singles like ‘Run It Up’, ‘I’m Not The One’ and ‘LOUDcation’ on Spotify, what does the future hold – more singles, a complete album? Do you see yourself making music videos?
S : I’ve just dropped a new track on Spotify, called ‘Ghettoville’… and yeah, more singles, definitely. I see myself releasing an album not too far into the future… as for music videos, there’s already one out—you should go check out the video for my song, ‘Run It Up’ on YouTube.
Q : Wow, I’ll definitely be doing that. How do you see your background influencing you as an artist? Do you think it impacts your audience that you don’t fit the conventional image of a rap artist?
S : If you’re referring to my ethnic and cultural background, yeah, I’m proud of the fact that my parents were immigrants from Mexico who worked hard to put food on the table… and that’s become a big part of who I am, learning and accepting that in order to succeed, you’ve gotta work your a*s off.
I might not be what people have in mind when they think of a rap artist, and I might not make the music people expect me to make… but when people hear my music, they love it, and that’s what matters. That connect with my audience, that energy, it’s incredible—more than anything else, what keeps me going is that amazing feeling of being in sync with my fans, my peeps.
At the end of the day, rap is my passion, and I’m proud of my roots, and I’m confident that I’m on my way to putting my city on the rap map.
The consistency with which Siple has been putting out dope rap argues that he’s right on the mark. I’ve got the feeling that we’re soon going to be seeing a new star in the big leagues.