Metaphaurus started rapping in high school when he would write raps for his family members on their birthdays. After getting positive reception, he decided to dedicate himself to the art.
The name “Metaphaurus” is a combination of the words “metaphor” and “dinosaur.” It is also the stage name of 21-year-old kinesiology major Joshua Kim which to him means a beast with metaphors.
The rapper described his style as unique, fusing together 90s boom-bap beats and vocal influences from newer generations to create something new.
“Hip-hop is a challenge that I definitely have the skill for, but it is difficult and even scary at times,” Kim said. “I get nervous before I perform and nervous that a song may not come out the way I envisioned it. Once I get past that though, I manage to find myself in the zone where I can’t hear, see, or feel anything in the world except the bliss coming from beating the challenge.”
Kim has won first and second place in Coast 2 Coast Live’s online music video showcases where artists can show their work all over the world, and made it to the top 64 of 3,082 auditions for TeamBackPack’s World Underground LA, where emcees compete for a cash prize and a possible record deal.
Eminem, Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G., LyRicks and Kendrick Lamar are some rappers Kim said have shaped his complex rhyming style, flows and cadences. What he admires about these artists is that they carry charisma and have powerful presences in their songs.
“Most people tell me I sound ‘angry’ in my music, but I prefer the term ‘powerful,’” Kim said. “Lots of people tell me I have strange qualities about myself and you can hear it in the music. When it comes to the content of my raps, you will hear complex multi-syllabic rhyme schemes, multiple languages, a powerful cadence, and a Korean-American voicing his opinion in hip-hop.”
Sophomore Ian Davies-Morris met Kim last year in the Hip-Hop Culture Club and said he has gotten more passionate about pushing his music and artistic vision.
“Josh has a solid grasp on the rhythmic and poetic aspects of creating quality raps, but also adds an interesting twist by using rhymes from different languages to create rhyme schemes you wouldn’t find in either individual languages,” Davies-Morris said.
Asian American studies major and senior Von Bondoc, 29, met Kim in 2015 and said his technical skills in rapping and speaking different languages in his raps make him unique.
Consistency is something people love, but Kim said it can get boring. Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, Run the Jewels and Jonwayne are innovative artists who Kim said are making an impact in hip-hop.
“When you listen to the innovative artists’ projects you always get something new and different every time,” Kim said. “You can hear it in their cadences and their instrument choices… Usually with innovation comes a new trend and tons of followers who try and copy it. You can tell how much impact they’ve had by listening to how many artists sound like them.”
Since starting his rap career, Kim said he has gained confidence, which was always an issue he struggled with. He held himself back for many years because of self-doubt and anxiety but was saved by the positivity his family showed him and constant meditation. He said his biggest supporters have been his mother and his girlfriend.
“I do it because it makes me healthy; creative energies are good for the mind” Kim said. “I do it because it challenges me. Rewards taste much greater after overcoming challenges. I do it to inspire others, pulling people from dark places through your positive and creative energy brings you closer to the struggle of all people.”