Most know him for his speed, being one of the top athletes on the Arcadia track team and San Gabriel Valley. Others see him as simply cool and calm. However, beneath all that, there is a side of high school senior Yeab Guracha few know—he makes music.
Guracha describes his style as eclectic – or in other words, he derives his inspiration from a combination of multiple sources. From his birthplace of Ethiopia to present-day Arcadia, all have played a fundamental aspect in how he views the world and creates his music. He is the type of guy who mish and mashes different sounds and pieces from different sources and influences to create his own unique record or song.
Part of this personality came from middle school, a time which he was into the genre of rock. The first band he heard that changed all of that was Linkin Park.
“There was this song,” said Guracha, “in which they played the usual rock, and then they switched to rapping. I was intrigued at the novelty of an emcee in a rock band.” But the way Linkin Park “took seemingly opposite genres and blended the two together, I just found really beautiful.”
At the same time, much of the motivation comes from recognition.
“I remember only a few months in when I was making music, people were commenting and saying how good my music was,” said Yeab. “Even though I was just a noob, the recognition really pushed me to do more.”
He especially loves it when it’s people who he doesn’t know that gives him shout-outs. Or when it’s friends who doesn’t know the music is his, having released his music under the pseudonym “Bushido Brown”. This new-found awe led him to take random instrumentals from YouTube and experiment with putting different pieces together.
“I would say, hey, look, this guy’s vocals sounds so much better over this guy’s beats,” said Guracha, and he would play around more and more.
Through a family friend who worked as a sound technician, he would also discover the method of sampling, very predominant in the music he makes today. Soon enough, there were days on which all he did was “plugging my earphones in and just taking [the music] all in.”
Throughout this whole time, Guracha went through multiple genres and transitions. Initially he would focus on the lyrics; later, he moved onto the instrumental aspects. At first he was into old school hip-hop, The Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z, Nas, Wu-Tang, and the such; later, he would take interest in EDM. All of which he experimented with and incorporated into his art. After years of doing this, he now has a SoundCloud account with a fan base- “modest fan base” and multiple tracks.
Guracha has also taken another eclectic approach: merging music and cinematography together. According to one of Guracha’s favorite artists, Ta-Ku, this style is all about “collaborations in sight and sound”. So far he has amassed a few hours of original music on his SoundCloud and a few minutes of unreleased short films on his Macbook. He says that after he manages to collect enough of the right equipment, he will pursue this more aggressively, but until then, he plans on recording on his iPhone.
A sample of his music
A lot of this passion for music comes from looking up to the greats. It wasn’t often that a rapper produced his own instrumentals but “I saw a backstage video that showed Shinoda (the leader of Linkin Park) just making a beat then right there on the spot,” said Guracha. “I was just really mesmerized, and I wanted to do the same.”
Guracha, for instance, recalled a time a well-known Taiwanese artist, @rgry, reposted a work of his, which was a mix of a piece by the artist himself.
“To have my work recognized by the very same people who inspire me, just really means a lot and motivates me to keep creating,” he said.
However, he faces a struggle many Apache artists face—finding the right balance between art and school.
“I just wish I could dedicate more to making music,” he said, noting how time-consuming track/field and his classes have been.
But he doesn’t regret it. Before Arcadia, he lived in Pasadena and Glendale, where “I was always top of the class.” As a result, he thought rather highly of himself, thinking he was the best. “But I came to Arcadia and everybody was really just applying themselves,” said Guracha. For him, it was a rather humbling experience, and he appreciates that aspect.
It was only until junior year, though, he “realized a little late that what is done in high school affects the future.” It was when he began applying himself a lot more in his academics. From this lesson, he became willing to give up some of his time for music so to get a better future where he could focus more on music.
“If I had focused one solely music now, I would have done badly in both music and school,” he said.
Sure, Arcadia has it flaws. “The competition is scary,” noted Guracha. He also compared Arcadia academics to track—“I can be running all day long, but if I don’t get rest, I won’t get any better,” he said, referring to the high stress that is prevalent. But in the end, he recognizes the opportunities Arcadia High School offers and “take[s] pride in the fact I go to a top-notch school.”
So as for now, Yeab is going to put academics a bit ahead of music. But he will come back and put music ahead. After all, his confidence and passion in music has never wavered. If you go check his SoundCloud now, it won’t say “Bushido Brown” anymore.
“I go by Yeab now,” he said, boasting a genial smile.
To check out his music, go here: https://soundcloud.com/yeab1998.