Senior Jonathan Shapiro has a new rap single out. Titled “IDGAF”, the song details the feeling of giving up after the end of a relationship. The Campus Times had the opportunity to talk to Shapiro on his experience as an upstate-New Yorker in the rap industry, his passion for music, and his plans for the future.
Originally from Binghamton, the Business major decided to pursue his degree to further his music career. “The reason I came here was because in my senior year, I had a manager who was the owner of 105.5 The Beat, a radio station here in Rochester, and he invited me to come to this Kevin Gates concert,” Shapiro said. “I worked with him for months, and I never ended up signing […] but this school was close to him.”
Shapiro noted that the Rochester rap scene tends to be focused on drill music as well as beats with R&B or trap influences. However, despite there being studios in the area who work with up-and-coming artists, it’s not easy to make it big.
The majority of fellow rappers that Shapiro has encountered in Rochester live different lives than he does — they don’t go to college, and they’re born-and-bred inner-city Rochester residents. They have, according to Shapiro, “a lot of real-life experiences” that come through in their work, which he admires. “I’ve met kids as young as 15 and people as old as 30 in the studios.”
Shapiro himself has been shifting into, in his own words, “a more hyperpop sound” in comparison to his earlier work. He started making his own music in seventh grade after breaking his back, which simultaneously shattered his dreams of becoming a professional soccer player, and never stopped.
In the future, Shapiro is planning a joint concert with some other Rochester musicians and rappers in the spring at Water Street Music Hall, as well as releasing further music across the course of the year. “It would be a mix of local artists and some UR artists, like a festival,” Shapiro said. “I want it to be a showcase of multiple artists if I can make that happen.”
When asked about advice that he would give to aspiring musicians and rappers here in Rochester, Shapiro had this to say: “Don’t get discouraged by results and don’t be results-oriented […] If you want to get out there, do it because you love it and because you want to make good art, and that will always have an impact.”