Broward County rapper Samuel "Sam Stan" Stanley, 22, raps about his lived experiences dealing with love and making it as a rapper in South Florida. He describes his style as “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air feel-good music with tons of positive vibes.”
"I just want to be a glass of lemonade on a hot day. I just want to be refreshing. Cool vibes and feel good music," Stan told Sundial.
Stan has been rapping since he was 14 and is trying to break into hip-hop with what he calls “Happy Raps,” which is also the name of his most recent album. His song “Happy Place” has already reached 1.4 million plays on Spotify.
He joined Sundial to talk about the rap scene in South Florida and how he’s breaking ground online as a young artist. You can watch a video of his performance in WLRN's studios below.
WLRN: When you look at hip-hop or rap it seems like the stuff that does really well is the stuff that talks about life in the ghetto, dealing with gangs or police brutality. Is being a happy, positive rapper marketable?
Stan: I think so. I feel like the beautiful thing about hip-hop today is its diversity and how versatile it is. You can have someone like Kendrick Lamar, who is very lyrical on heavy substance, and then you can have someone like Drake making more chill vibes and singing a little bit. The beautiful thing about hip-hop now with the internet is anything is really marketable, if it's branded right, the image makes sense and the music is good.
When did you know music was going to be this big a part of your life? Was there a moment?
I went to a summer camp leading into my 10th grade year and they asked me to rap for the kids there. I always grew up freestyling a little bit with my friends but nothing serious. So I had a little verse and I went onstage and forgot everything. Every single word... I forgot everything that I wrote down and long story short I just freestyled the rest of it. Everyone told me that's the best thing they ever heard. I thought, "wow, that's wild."
What do you say to people who are working their way up? What's the advice you give them?
I say the power of the internet. The internet has a lot of cons but the pros are endless. I feel like it's the era of entrepreneurs. if you have an idea, build on your brand and go for it.
Is it about selling swag or is it still about live performances? How are you making a living?
The beautiful thing is streaming. A lot of people listen to my music and it's spreading faster than I expected.
Is it still about trying to get the record deal? Because now the world we live in, you could put yourself out there on all these platforms and you have a lot more control.
What I like about my generation is that even thought there is a struggle between funding and ownership, a lot of the kids now are leaning towards owning it and putting more time in. The funding ... comes later. I think we're leaning more towards doing it ourselves.
Watch Sam Stan's in studio performance.