Meet Metaphaurus Raps: a twenty-two year old, Santa Clarita-based Korean American rapper. With a distinct voice, Metaphaurus has been making waves. Having recently participated in this year’s Team BackPack Barfight, he is not afraid to take on new challenges. He has been deemed as on to watch by one of the hottest rappers in the game right now. Read our exclusive interview with Metaphaurus Raps conducted by our guest writer HoneyXRock.
For starters, for those new to your music, how would you describe yourself?
I’m just an artist that’s seeking enlightenment, spreading positivity along the way, and supporting my family. As for my music, you will definitely hear power in the beats, power in the voice, and power in the lyrics. I take pride in being charismatic in my music being influenced by some of the most charismatic artists of all time. If you listen to my tracks, you can hear that I was heavily influenced by Boom Bap, complex rhyme schemes, and a wide range of flows.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Have any of them influenced you and if so how?
Some of the artists I grew up listening to the most are 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Ice Cube, Big L, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, & of course my boys, LyRicks and JL (of Year of the OX). Holistically, these artists have all influenced me in that they all have charisma in their music. They carry powerful presences through their cadences, flows, and lyrics and that has always made them stand out to me.
How long have you been rapping for and what made you pursue it?
I’ve been rapping since I was in high school, so about 6 years. I started off by writing raps for my family and friends for their birthdays. I would always get a positive reception so I kept writing. I didn’t become serious with music until just last year when I learned to let go of my insecurities and doubts. My entire life has changed since.
How did you come about your stage name?
“Metaphaurus Raps” is a name I came up with in high school. “Metaphaurus” is a combination of “metaphor” & “Tyrannosaurus” (I used to love dinosaurs as a kid). Together, these two words mean “a beast/king with metaphors.”
Where do you draw the most inspiration from?
I’d say I draw the most inspiration from supporting my family and pushing myself to become better everyday. Nobody is perfect. Nobody is the best at anything. You can only be better and better.
One of the things that is often sited about your music is your tone of voice and your unique flow. How did you go about developing that?
One of my favorite habits I’ve had for years is rapping in the car on the way to anywhere. I’ve memorized entire Pac, Em, and Biggie songs and rapped along with them every time I hear them on the speakers. Imitating these rappers’ cadences and flows really helped me shape my own style & voice.
Recently you had participated in the Team Backpack (TBP) Barfight. What was that like for you and the most memorable moment of that experience?
At this competition, I got to witness amazing things and hear great stories from other competitors. Even though it was a competition, we all treat each other like family. We gave each other daps before we went on stage and we encouraged our opponents. How beautiful is that? That’s why I love Hip Hop. My second round with Mizz Nekol was definitely the highlight of my experience because that’s the wildest I’d ever gotten on stage. She’s a phenomenal MC and I knew that before I faced her, so I had to bring my A-game.
What was the toughest part of that experience and how did you over come that?
The toughest part of the competition was getting over the anxiety. When you come to an event, so many things run through your mind, but the creeping anxiety is what stands out most. I always drink chamomile and do breathing exercises before a performance to calm my nerves. It does wonders for me.
Would you consider going back?
Definitely. I’m going to audition for the 2018 event.
Speaking of TBP, you have received praise from Lyricks of Year Of The Ox, how did that feel and what has been the most memorable thing he has said to you?
For an upcoming MC like myself to hear from one of his favorite rappers that he thinks I’m dope is surreal. Rick has been a huge influence on me these past several months. I owe a lot to him because just hearing encouragement from an OG who’s put in his work for years in the game made it a lot easier for me to ignore the hate. The most memorable thing he said to me is that he believes I’m cut from a different cloth. That stood out to me because I always try to put originality as my priority in music.
Do you consider yourself to be more of a battle rapper?
Battle rapping is actually not my strong suit, contrary to popular belief. World Underground was the first “battle scene” I’ve ever performed at. I consider myself more of a song writer opposed to a battle rapper because bars are always dope, but if you don’t put your heart into the lyrics then there’s no enlightenment in the end.
You have mentioned in the past that your parents have been a major factor in the pursuit of your music. What was it like gaining their support? Was it immediate or did it take them time?
They are literally my day one’s because they believed in me since I first started recording. My father and mother are both singers who have gained acclaim in the past, so they know that a career in music is definitely possible with hard work. They pushed me when I had doubts in myself, so I owe much of my success to them.
What has been your biggest obstacle so far?
So far, my biggest obstacle has been overcoming my insecurities & doubts. Nowadays it’s much easier, but a year ago if anybody had doubts in me, I would start to doubt myself as well. After constant meditation and some life-changing experiences, I learned that my insecurities and doubts will only drag me down forever if I don’t change myself. Life’s too short to be doing nothing worth remembering.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I would say my biggest achievement thus far is being able to work with my Hyungs [older brothers] that I look up to. That was always the biggest validation for me. It’s fun to work with artists my age and who are also coming up, but to be able to work with professionals really resounded with me in that I know I’ve got something special to offer.
Do you have your sights on a label or do you desire to stay independent?
I’ve got my eyes on a couple labels. My dream would to be able to sign under BORN CTZN or Transparent Agency because I respect what they’re trying to do for the Asian American community.
Who would you like to work with for a dream collaboration?
9th Wonder, Kendrick Lamar, YOX, Run the Jewels, Anderson .Paak, & Jonwayne. (Not all on the same track)
Where do you see yourself musically in 5 years? What about 10 years?
With the momentum I’ve seen this past year, I believe by year 5 I will have made a ton of powerful connections & a lots of music. My goal is to be able to be financially stable with music alone so hopefully I can hit that between the 5 and 10 year mark.
What is something that you would say to your past self at the start of your journey? What about your future self?
I would tell my past self not to worry too much cause he’ll be just fine. I’d tell my future self not to lose sight of where he came from.
What can new listeners expect from you?
New listeners can expect me to keep it one hunnid at all times, they can expect dope music, dope experiences, and a story of a man with his eyes set at the moon.
Anything you would like to say in closing?
Spread love & positivity and don’t let your insecurities or others’ opinions stop you from doing what you love. The only person who can stop you is you.