Words and interview by Isaac Javier
The omnipresent spotlight will shine brighter than a sun on a cloudless noon, but who it graces its shine upon changes by the day, at times by the hour. It’ll glow upon both the one-hit wonders destined to dance with the stars and the talented geniuses that can turn an apple into a global enterprise.
To acquire all the gifts and curses of fame, one must stand in that spotlight and accept the lust-filled eyes of the world. Each passing day, there’s a new rapper or artist attracted to that light like a moth, trying to reach that point, believing that they do have what it takes to stand before the eyes of the world with their talent. Some make it big by extreme effort, others by connection and money, some stumble into the position almost by accident. There’s also rappers whose words will only reach the ears that listen to the sounds thumping in the underground. Some want the spotlight, others only want to pay their light bill, each comes with its own pros and cons, benefits and trials, but you have to decide.
The first time I heard “Just Ask” on a Soundcloud suggestion, it was love at first listen. Bearing a slightly similar style with the cult and critically acclaimed Noname (formerly known as Noname Gypsy), I genuinely thought that it was the Chicago born female rapper spitting those soothing bars and singing the awesome and hypnotising hook “Slow it down you move fastly/ On the highways you pass me/ Thoughts still linger from last week”. But halfway through listening, I noticed a distinct rawness about the track that made me re-think who it was I was listening to, and by the final line and instrumental outro, I was asking myself “Who is she?”
I was hooked and had the rest of my night’s playlist comprised of her Soundcloud timeline. Her songs, as a collective, featured a common theme of empowerment and positivity – something, along with being a female emcee and producer, that made her and artists alike standout and embody progressive hip-hop.
Her work ethic is also commendable, to say the least, with having numerous EP’s and tracks out, it resonates her commitment to her dream. Appropriately, she is full of ambition and hope for the realisation of her found purpose in life, music. With only more room to grow, the rawness will turn to refined, the lyrics to poetry, and the music to art. The spotlight bound to shine on this one.
In the current landscape of hip-hop being stereotypically dominated by materialism and violent subject matter, she is a genuine breath of fresh air with her unique narrative and message of positivity and innocence. Ever so often, you hear music that genuinely uplifits you during harder times, making you realise that “things aren’t so bad after all”. And ever so often, everyone needs to get told that important message of appreciating what you have instead of wanting more.
Her new song “Brighter Days(feat. NIKO)” features one of my favourite hooks which is as positive and empowering as it is catchy. This track showcases the aforementioned rawness and innocence which makes you appreciate the value of ambition, sending the listener in a state of contentedness and happiness. I had the privilege to speak to speak to Scrambled about her as an artist, her music, ambition, and her music collective, Scrambled Records. Read the interview below.
Isaac Javier:Who are you and what do you do?
Scrambled: What’s good everybody? My name is Synclaire Rowen and I am a seventeen year old Rapper/Producer from Upstate New York. I go by the alias ‘Scrambled’ when it comes to making music. Y’all can call me that. My main mission is to make uplifting music that everyone can relate to and also to give young artists like me a platform to express themselves. I write lyrics, make beats, and record all of my tracks in my bedroom studio.
IJ: What does music mean to you?
Scrambled: Music means life to me. It means expression, creativity, flexibility, and love. Music can take you back to anywhere and bring groups of people together everywhere. That’s why I make music, so I can be creative and make connections. So I can give people something to relate to just as so many of my favorite artists have given to me.
IJ: How long have you been making music?
Scrambled: Been writing lyrics and poetry since I was 10 years old then started getting into recording and mixing my own stuff when I was 14. So for about 7 years, music has been highly prioritized in my life. I put out my first track in October of 2014.
IJ: What does it feel like putting out that first track? something that you put your heart into and the realisation of doing what you set out to do
Scrambled: Putting out my first track was like everything I had bottled up was finally released. I had been telling my peers I rapped for a while but no one had a taste of what I actually rapped like. The track is called Supreme and to this day is still one of my favorites I have done. The feeling of having your own song out there, anyone can listen to, is indescribable. After I put out one song, I knew I needed to keep putting them out. Track after track.
IJ: What inspired you to start making music?
Scrambled: I always loved to write rhymes and one day I decided to just go for it. I decided I wanted to do it and I never turned back from there. The artists that inspire me definitely helped as well.
IJ: What artists inspire you to make music?
Scrambled: My idol will forever be Chance the Rapper. Also I fuck with Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler the Creator, Mick Jenkins, Noname, and Joey Bada$$ to name a few. Listening to their music helps inspire me to create.
IJ: What does being a female emcee and musician mean to you?
Scrambled: One part of me wishes that it wouldn’t matter. Male or female. Because to me, I am a musician. And along with every other musician I want to stand out and that’s where I believe being a female helps out. It makes me stand out because, sad to say, but people don’t expect girls to rap good. So when I come out spitting bars, people are genuinely surprised and impressed.
IJ: What can you say about the state of female artists in hip hop
Scrambled: I feel as if that there aren’t enough repping us out there. And the popular female artists in hip hop don’t rep the same message I’m about. I’m not a rap diva but I’m also not a female rapper from the hood. I’m on my own creative spectrum that I feel like I have the ability to control. I believe that females in hip hop are pushing forward a positive direction and I really hope to be a part of that movement.
IJ: Describing that new spectrum you mentioned, how would you describe you’re music?
Scrambled: I would describe my music as a fusion of feel good hip hop and vivid bars with hints of singing throughout my tracks. My music is meant to bring people together, connect different individuals, and leave positive messages wherever it is played. I’m all about spreading love.
IJ: What’s next for you?
Scrambled: Moving forward, I’m gonna just keep doing my thing. Keep making music, progressing in that, and keep hosting events like the open mic I just started, and hopefully just get more and more people to catch on. I’m working on a solo mixtape that’s going to drop later this year. I’m excited to keep on working and to see where my journey takes me yo
IJ: Talk about your Scrambled records, what it is,who it’s for, what are you trying to achieve.
Scrambled: Scrambled Records is a record label/collective I started to give other artists like me a platform to collaborate, create, and release their own material. I started recording/producing for a lot of my rapper friends out of my bedroom so I decided to make it a little more official. I am welcome to getting new artists on my page, so they have a space for all of their music and contact information. I hope to build that and eventually be recording and producing a handful of artists under my name/partnership. My website http://scrambledrecords.com has all of my music, videos, events, and other music related content. I hope to one day have my own professional recording studio that me, along with other creative artists, can record and work out of. That’s the ultimate goal.
Listen to her latest project, Summer Tape,featuring NIKO.
Special thanks to Synclaire Rowen