Rapper Darnell Boone finds footing on SoundCloud

Boone solidifies himself as an artist by collaborating with fellow students to make insightful, entertaining hip-hop.

Adam Pigott, Staff Writer

(This story was originally published in print on Mar. 28, 2019).

Blending soul, R&B and hip-hop, sophomore cinema and media arts major Darnell Boone stands out as one of Biola’s most versatile student music artists. The Corona, California native has been uploading his music to SoundCloud for two years, garnering tens of thousands of streams since. Back in September, he released nine singles and an EP called “Pretty Girls,” and plans on releasing another EP soon. His latest music video for the track “Make it” has received more than 50,000 views on Twitter in just two days.

“When I got into film my senior year of high school, I realized that I am a really creative person,” Boone said. “When it comes to creative things, that is where I need to be… I knew I could write songs. I started recording, and I felt like God was speaking to me saying, ‘Alright, you have to write and record songs.’ I feel like [music] is God’s calling for me.”

Boone grew up listening to many different artists and genres, ranging from soul artists like Natalie Cole and Ray Charles to 21st century rap luminaries Kendrick Lamar and his biggest inspiration, J. Cole.

“What I get from him is that in all his songs, there is a clear message,” Boone said. “Whatever the subject is, you are grasping every single word that comes out of his mouth. When I write, I want to make it plain to where they hear every word that I am saying. They feel what I am feeling.”


As a Biola student, Boone has found the need to adapt his music to the culture of the campus.

“[Biola] exposed me to a different audience,” Boone said. “Where I am from, the stuff we listen to is too nitty-gritty, and it is too much for the white audience…Ray Charles’ music was really raunchy, fast beat and a lot of yelling. Once he crossed over to having a white audience, he made softer songs such as ‘Georgia on my Mind.”’

However, he has also found more contemporary influences through the music within the Biola bubble.

“I did not know who Rex Orange County was and I never would have known who that was if I had not gone to Biola,” Boone said. “I appreciate that I have been able to get exposed to what other people are listening to. At the end of the day, good music is good music.”


Senior communications major Max Klaiber met Boone while living in Hart Hall. A video creator, Klaiber ran into Boone while the latter was creating a song in the Production Center and the two ended up collaborating on music videos.

“Working with Darnell on music videos is a great creative outlet,” Klaiber said. “With Darnell being a film major, he is already pretty visually creative. He is a man who knows what he wants visually done. It is pretty cool being in this collaborative experience with him, and deciphering his lyrics, the tone and the mood of the song together.”

Boone collaborates with many Biola students when making music, including his friend and freshman music major Mehki Key. The two met through Boone’s producer and sophomore cinema and media arts major Dylan Allen and collaborated on the track “Temporary,” featured on Boone’s EP “Pretty Girls.” Key says he admires Boone’s pursuit of God’s calling.

“He just does not give up,” Key said. “I love the fact that he has a dream. A lot of people in our generation, we lost sight of our dreams and our value to the aspiration we want to go after… God put him on the Earth for a reason and he is just trying to find that, and he is going after it.”

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