UA rapper "Stitch" making a name for himself
On the day-to-day, Ethan Lee is a freshman at the University of Arizona, but online he is known by another name — “Stitch,” the songwriter and SoundCloud rapper.
Alongside attending classes, Lee also writes rap lyrics and makes beats behind his dorm room door. He has already made a diss track, has over 20 songs produced to his name and one album called “BTB,” for “Back to the Basics,” out on SoundCloud.
It began with his brother, Eric Lee.
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According to Ethan Lee, he began rapping around the seventh grade and was heavily influenced by Eric Lee — a rap artist himself. While Ethan learned to freestyle and write lyrics, Eric Lee included Ethan Lee in his songs every once in a while, Ethan Lee said.Eric Lee encouraged him to study music and listen to different songs to make him a better, more well-rounded rapper, Ethan said.
But Ethan Lee didn’t begin to take rapping seriously until he was 15 years old, after he and a friend had messed around with a Snowball mic in the locker room.Ethan Lee’s friend made a beat, they rapped over it and they realized how good of a song they had created. Following a fallout in a relationship, Ethan Lee made his first diss track and from there, went on to make more music. When Ethan Lee put his music on SoundCloud, he got some following to it and eventually got his own music and recording equipment. Ethan Lee’s biggest influence, he said, has always been his family.
“We are all musically gifted and deal with a lot of things that others can relate to, so I like to share our story,” Ethan Lee said.
Ethan Lee writes about his family and some of the struggles he faced during his childhood and writing about his surroundings. Some of his songs are personal narratives of his life while others are battle raps, full of disses, clever metaphors and constant punch lines.
“What made me take this [rap] seriously was the death of my childhood church friend, like, junior year,” Ethan Lee said. “His family released one last song, ‘You’re Not Alone,’ and though it hurt a lot, I felt like I was writing with him like we did a few times before he moved away. My song ‘Why God?’ is also really personal, because I talk about some of the things I’ve addressed that caused some problems in my life.”
Ethan Lee’s other major influences are artists like J. Cole, Joyner Lucas, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. His own music has been compared to rap giants like Logic, Hospin and Lamar.
“I loved the feeling I got listening to artists like J. Cole,” Ethan Lee said. “The stories he shared made me not feel so alone and I just want to make others feel like that, simple.”
Since learning how to produce and make his own beats, Ethan Lee now self-produces and writes all his own material.
“I got help to learn how to use the recording program, but everything after that I did myself — besides the diss, I went to a studio for that,” Ethan Lee said. “Writing, though, was 1000% me. Some rappers use ghostwriters, but I feel like that takes something personal from your music. No disrespect to those people, but I feel like rapping other people’s lyrics isn’t what rap was originated for.”
Ethan Lee’s process is constant. He is always thinking about rap, he said, quickly jotting ideas down before he forgets clever lyrics. He hears a new song and instantly has to go write.
“There’s been countless times where I’ve been up past 2 a.m. writing music or finishing other songs,” Ethan Lee said.
This summer, Ethan Lee appeared on “Put You On Notice Podcast” run by Antonio Stewart, aka “Mr. Whatcha Tone,” at iHeartRadio — an opportunity presented because his brother Eric Lee was interviewed about his own music — and continues to put his work on SoundCloud to get put his name out into the world.
“I look for individuals that are doing something positive within themselves, someone that has influenced others or speak on obstacles that they overcome,” Stewart said. “I pretty much just let artists have a platform to showcase some of their music and I feature artists that I think people should check out in the community.”
Rapping has pushed Ethan Lee into the music world, as he is now signed by a record label under his older brother called Iconic Entertainment, according to Ethan Lee.
“[Ethan Lee] has a creative ear for music, he makes conscience music,” Eric said. “His message is very confident. He will stand boldly and say those things. He delivers it in a way that feels intriguing.”
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Lee is currently working on new music and constantly trying to build a larger fan base. He is also always on the lookout for new artists to collaborate with.
“[We’re] working on an EP for him to release very soon,” Eric said. “We’re in the studio now, so I know he has a project coming.”
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