One sure sign of having made it in the music business is scoring a prominent guest appearance from an A-list rapper on a single or album track. While that may be out of the price range of most independent artists, at least they can experience the next best thing thanks to The Rap Board, a functional and stylish soundboard that promises to deliver “signature catchphrases from your favorite rappers.” Created by San Francisco-based art director LP Riel, the site is intuitive and easy to use. The heads of famous rappers, alphabetized by their stage names (starting with 2 Chainz and ending with Young Jeezy), appear against a red background. The user merely needs to click on or tap the icon representing a particular rapper to hear a quick snippet of the artist’s familiar voice. Want to hear DMX’s signature bark and growl? Just click on his face. His next door neighbor on the board, Drake, says at least four phrases, including “Unh!” and “All right!”
Purists may quibble with the inclusions and exclusions here, and there seems to be no real correlation between quality and quantity on The Rap Board. 50 Cent, for instance, has more icons on the site than either 2Pac or The Notorious B.I.G., and the only female rapper represented here is Da Brat. No Missy Elliott, no Nicki Minaj. But the site is built around catchphrases and signature sounds. The more of them a rapper has, the more real estate he commands. By far, the two rappers with the most icons are Jay Z and Lil Wayne. Kanye West gets one miserable soundbite: “Uh uh.” The truth, however, is that this soundboard can be a lot of fun for hip-hop fans, especially when used on a device with a touchscreen. With enough time and determination, you could even create an entire song out of the brief audio snippets included here.