SU junior dips into the world of hip-hop

SU junior dips into the world of hip-hop

Joe Piacitelli opens up about his budding rap career.
Published: January 27, 2020

Joe Piacitelli is an aspiring musical artist.

During his senior year of high school, Joe Piacitelli was on a cruise with one of his best friends. The two entered a karaoke contest, where they sang “1 Train” by A$AP Rocky. Piacitelli remembers breaking from the lyrics and improvising on his own.

“I took the mic and started freestyling over the beat. Everyone that was there for the karaoke was vibing to it and kinda going crazy,” he said.

Shortly after, someone approached Piacitelli with a business card. The man told Piacitelli he worked in the music industry and wanted to hear anymusic that Piacitelli had made. But he had not yet released a song.

“That night I wrote my first full song over Drake’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ beat,” he said. “Ever since then I kept writing and writing.”

Joe Piacitelli is an aspiring musical artist.
Piacitelli looks over his lyrics while recording new material.

Long before Piacitelli wrote his first song, music was an outlet for him.

“If I’m stressed out about something I will just go to music to alleviate the stress,” Piacitelli said. “It’s a nice way to express yourself too and just be different from everyone else.”

Piacitelli developed an interest in music at the age of nine years old. He found comfort in the music of Eminem, Lil Wayne, and DJ Khaled at that time while his parents were getting divorced.

“I could just get lost with music and I didn’t really have to think about what was going on in my life,” he said.

Some artists that Piacitelli draws inspiration from are Lil Baby, Roddy Rich, and G-Eazy. He tries to mimic some of their sounds and raps to similar beats as these mainstream artists.

Piacitelli posts his music to the popular music sharing platform, SoundCloud. SoundCloud is an extremely instrumental platform for up and coming artists. Many successful rappers have climbed the charts via the exposure they gained through SoundCloud. Rappers like XXXTentacion, Juice WRLD, and Lil Pump are just several of the many notable rappers who have achieved mainstream success after getting their start on the platform.

Piacitelli’s producer, Michael Melvin, makes his own music that he posts on SoundCloud.

“It’s a good way to find new music and get people to notice your own music,” Melvin said. “It’s crucial in music now, especially for smaller artists like Joe.”

On SoundCloud, Piacitelli’s music has thousands of streams and his audience is expanding as people like and repost his songs.

Through both social media and SoundCloud, Piacitelli has received a lot of positive feedback on his music. His biggest supporters are his friends and family who give him their honest opinions on his work. However, he’s even received responses from some unexpected people, people he barely even knew in high school.

“They reached out said they enjoyed it and that really made me feel good because those are people that I wouldn’t expect to listen to it, but the fact they liked the song, and liked it enough to reach out to me really means a lot,” he said.

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Piaticelli collaborating with his producer.

Piacitelli is a junior studying finance in the Whitman School of Management. One of his goals is to start a small business, which he attempted in high school when he started a clothing company with his friends. The business, called Mana-tees, never really took off and he and his friends decided to end the business. Piacitelli wants to have a career in finance, working at a software development firm or an investment bank, before going on to one day start his own company.

Piacitelli draws some parallels between making music and the business world. He said starting his own business was an eye-opening experience.

“It definitely ingrained in my mind how difficult it is to do something that creates value for other people and for yourself,” Piacitelli said. He also related the marketing aspects of business and music. “Whether you’re in business or in music you’re always marketing yourself,” he said.

Piacitelli’s rap career is just beginning, and he plans to continue releasing music and improving his sound. While he is just beginning and has no expectations of becoming the next rap superstar, Piacitelli’s goals are to have fun and make good music that people can relate to, while staying focused on earning a finance degree and owning a business. For now, music will remain a hobby for Piacitelli.

“I want to make songs that people like, even if that doesn’t reach a giant audience at least I can say that my friends like it and that we have fun. My main thing is just having fun making music,” Piacitelli said.