On the Rise is an interview series presented by Fresh Business Thinking to showcase exciting entrepreneurs whom we predict to be the next generation of ‘household names.’ In this episode, we get Alena Golden on the mic, Co-Founder and Director of Rap Tech Studios.

Rap Tech Studios is a unique app development company, with a focus on rap and the latest developments in music technology. Interviewed by Fresh Business Thinking’s Arran Wilson, On The Rise get’s the DL on Alena’s story. 

The rap genre has a rich and interesting history. Originating from a variety of 1970s block parties in the Bronx, New York, it has developed into a booming genre of music that’s been growing rapidly in popularity ever since.

What was once considered a controversial and rejected form of music is now one of the most popular genres there is. With developments in music-tech headed by people like Alena, a then tough genre to make a career out of now has 1000s of platforms that promote, appraise and present aspiring rappers to the world at large.

Under Rap Tech Studio’s belt are a variety of applications that do just that, and more. One in particular being Rap Fame, the company’s flagship app. Rap Fame is an app that connects listeners with a variety of underground artists that are hoping to make it, or in some cases already have.

Many artists already on the platform have record deals but still choose to promote their music on the app.

“We discovered there is big demand for people to learn how to rap.”

With apps like Rap Fame and TikTok providing everyone with such easy access to each other’s content, some might be worried that the rap-scene is getting a little oversaturated, and thus, degrading in quality.

It’s no secret that rap has changed drastically since the early days, initially even being used as a creative and peaceful platform to stand up against racism. While still used to fight against inequality to this very day, the rhythm, rappers and sub-genres have transformed into something completely new. 

But, have things like TikTok and Soundcloud led to the dilution and perhaps even slight cultural appropriation of the rap genre? “The hip-hop community has historically given the young generation a voice,” Alena says. While rap is now a genre listened to, produced and promoted by many it can easily be argued that it still stays true to its roots. Classic rap is still very much on the radar and some rappers that aren’t ethnically black have attributed their security in their own racial identity to inspiration garnered through rap music.

“We provide everyone with an equal chance to be heard.”

Rap has deep cultural roots in fighting against not just racism, but the struggles that are gone through on a regular basis by many people. While such a basis for a rap song is slightly more unheard of these days, the genre itself has been enabled by platforms created by companies like Rap Tech Studios, to potentially provide those that are struggling, with a chance at success. The vast collection of platforms allowing new and fresh rappers to present their music is giving all talented artists with a passion for rap a chance at making it with something they love.

Even Alena herself, originally from Belarus, found inspiration in the genre. Following in her older brother’s footsteps and taking an interest in the music and scene, she was one of the first people to bring the genre to Belarus in the 90s. Eventually building off this great leap of faith to partner up with O2 and move the Rap Tech Studio’s headquarters to London.

“I think the hip-hop industry for artists is incredibly competitive, a lot of talented people never have the chance to get heard.”

Now that Alena’s made her success she’s focused on contributing to her own platform that extends that success to others. Alena is not just making it easier for aspiring artists to promote their music, but produce it too, as Rap Tech Studios now has 10 million downloads and provides other apps that streamline the production and promotion process for hip-hop music.

Alena’s next and main ambition for Rap Tech Studio is to build a “Main hip-hop hub worldwide,” she says, aiming to unite hip-hop fans globally she’s already well on her way with Rap Fame receiving over 10 million downloads. Wanting to push it even further though, Alena is aiming to localise the app in a variety of different languages. “I think we have all the chances to become the main hub for hip-hop fans worldwide,” she finishes.

Be sure to check out the full interview up top, and also take a look at the Fresh Business YouTube channel here, for more.