Rap Tech Studios, founded by sister and brother Alena Golden (Patapau) and Dan Patapau, is an app development company that combines a passion for hip hop and music technology to inspire rap fans across the world to unleash their musical talent.
The origins of the company and its founders make for a fascinating story and highlight how many young people are turning to hip hop, rap and grime music to make sense of an anxious, uncertain and unsettling world.
Alena tells WWS, “One might say to really understand hip hop culture you should’ve been born and raised in the US. And I can agree with that. However, we did grow up in quite a bizarre post-Soviet Union period, our family had very limited resources and it’s music that helped us to overcome those hard times.”
Originally from Belarus, the siblings’ love for hip hop was ignited after Dan’s recreational trip to Italy – very common in the late 90s as part of a series of charitable efforts undertaken by Belarus “to show the world” to post-Soviet Union kids. Whilst in Italy, he was influenced by a 14 year old teenager Paolo, who was a big fan of Italian rap at the time, used to ride a Motorino and wear all the latest swag. When Dan returned to Belarus he brought a mix tape of the best Italian rap with him. And Alena was hooked too.
Moving beyond Italian rap, they started listening to some post-Soviet rap groups including: Dob Community, Bad Balance and Mikhej. And then branching out into American artists Coolio, Papa bear, Puff Daddy. The most significant impact on their life and future business came from Eminem and The Slim Shady LP.
The music and messages in hip hop inspired them to build Rap Tech Studios. Their belief is that regardless of where you are from, your background, or your religious beliefs; hip hop culture is something that can unite us all. It is an outletfor your fears, your hopes and your dreams. They set out to disrupt the way talent discovery historically works and give people – young people in particular – a way to express themselves creatively.
“We’ve democratized the music industry by making recording studios available to anyone with a smartphone.”
Recently the company compiled an #ICantBreathe mixtape in response to the tragic murder of George Floyd. The community came together to share their feelings and show their support.
With Rap Tech people can create music and also find a like-minded community. The platform hosts a series called Behind the Lyrics where people share very personal stories and how they found safe havens through rap. Music of all forms has the power to inspire, heal divides and soothe the soul. Music can help to make the world a better place. And Rap Tech Studios is showing the way to that future.