By Logan Langlois

MURFREESBORO, TN — “Yeah Memphis hot, but Nashville buzzin’,” remarked rapper Kandi Lake with a smile. “It’s definitely growing … it’s growing a lot.”

Kandi Lake is a rapper based out of Murfreesboro whose music has recently gained significant traction among Nashville and Murfreesboro audiences — Attention that has been far beyond what he expected when first setting out. 

Kandi Lake immediately after the rapper’s first interview. Photo by Logan Langlois

“It’s cool to see people who have, like, never seen you before… after like, the first song they’re fully invested,” Lake continued. “You can tell when you’ve won somebody over, and it is, like, the most surreal feeling.” 

Lake has been releasing music since high school but moved to Murfreesboro a year and a half ago to attend Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). Since then, he has become very involved in the local rap scene while successfully building his professional network, though he is no longer attending MTSU. 

When asked whether the rap scenes in Nashville and Murfreesboro influence each other, Lake said that he personally spends much of his time in Nashville despite being based in Murfreesboro, where he claims there are no real studios for rappers to record their music. Many, like Lake, find themselves in Nashville in an attempt to record and promote their work.

“They influence [each other] heavily,” Lake commented. “They’re actually like, pretty synonymous with one another.” 

Kandi Lake displays the back graphic of his hoodie available as merchandise. Photo by Logan Langlois

Lake went on to describe that the style of rap he’s seen as most popular in the underground music scene right now embraces a kind of loud grittiness comparable to what the Murfreesboro punk scene offers. He sees much of this likeness in the similarly-inspired aggressive and angsty instrumentals in the two genres including heavy guitars, hard-hitting drums, and “anything that, like, vibrates your chest.” For Lake, it makes sense that most of his performances have been in front of crowds whose attendees are often largely active in the local punk scene. Lake went on to say that he believes that what’s happening in the underground Nashville and Murfreesboro rap scene is opening new creative avenues for rappers to express themselves. 

“All the rappers that have been here … a lot of ‘em … definitely aren’t, like, what me and my friends do and what a lot of the new people do,” Lake went on to say. “They’re more … jazz chord progressions type stuff… and I’m a very … ‘I’m gonna yell ‘till I lose my voice ‘cause I like, got a lot of s*** that I don’t know how to address.’” 

He said he feels that a lot of the influence that makes a distinct Nashville sound has been a long time coming, but much of it is also being expanded upon to be the current wave of new artists.

Lake also went out of his way to promote some music by his little brother Noah,
operating under the stage name ‘Noah!’, which has already been released. “That’s my … child!” Lake exclaimed, before shouting out other artists such as EJ (Instagram @ejthemaker), Justin (Instagram @wowjus7in), and Slowgod (Instagram @slxwgxd).

Kandi Lake’s music is available on all listening platforms and he is present on all social media platforms under the same name.