By Staff Writer Ella Chen
Seniors Jeffrey Liu, Kane Tian, and Alex Yin are partners in the rap group “Szechuan Sauce Squad,” which is gaining recognition among students at MSJ. Originally, the three had discussed, on multiple occasions, to “drop a mix tape” jokingly. However, after their schedules eased up, the three came together again after Tian bought a microphone to record their first single, “After School Activity.”
The idea for the name came from Liu, who had wanted to call them “Rooster Sauce Squad.” Yet after some thought, the three agreed on the current name to honor their Chinese background and also to play with the acronym “SSS,” commonly used to refer to the term “second semester senior.” Tian is credited as the unifying factor in the group, having brought Liu and Yin together after fun rap sessions during class and after school. The three seniors not only attribute their growing popularity to the uniqueness of their name but also to how relatable their song lyrics are. The two songs that have been released on their SoundCloud account incorporate instrumentals from trendy rap tracks and lyrics referring to curricula in courses and activities found at MSJ.
Prior to putting together a song, the three collaborate together on an online document to share lyrics ideas and write rhyme schemes. Inspirations for their music come from Asian hip-hop artist, Rich Chigga, whose song “Dat $tick” became viral soon after its release. “We just want to have fun when we’re writing a song. It isn’t always about whether or not the track will be a hit but whether we enjoy the musical process to the final product,” said Yin. After coming up with lyrics, the three take turns sampling beats, especially from songs that they feel would most likely fit their lyrics and sound even better as a remix. Each wearing headphones that play the beat, the three commence “SoundCloud rapping,” and credit the original instrumental to the original rap artist. Liu then remixes the beat to best fit the lyrics and the group records together using Tian’s microphone. Currently, other than “After School Activity,” the group has also released “UBERMENSCH. (ft. Philo).” Inspiration for the track comes from AP English Literature discussions about Crime and Punishment. “We try our best to be relatable so that we can really connect with our audience. We try to give them what they want to hear while also remaining experimental in our lyric writing,” said Liu.
Regarding the future of their group, the three only agreed to continue their musical collaboration as a side project as they pursue engineering degrees in college. However, the group is serious about one part of their work — they refuse to come up with individual rapper names in order to stay true to their identities. “We don’t need rapper names because real ones don’t need fake names,” said Tian.
Szechuan Sauce Squad will continue to work behind-the-scenes and are planning to enjoy the rest of their senior year while also working on future tracks for their increasing audience.
Update: The Sauce Squad released their third track on Sunday, May 21. The song, “Back 2 Business” is their come-back track as they continue to try out beats and explore their sound.
Szechuan Sauce Squad’s music can be listened to at https://soundcloud.com/szechuansaucesquad.
Photo by Staff Writer Ella Chen