At the ripe age of 12, Danny Friday, founder of The Rap Test, started coding.
The Rap Test plays snippets of audio to test how much you know about rappers and their music.
With The Rap Test, you have just 15 seconds to figure out which song by a certain artist you’re listening to. At launch, you can test your chops with Kanye West, Drake, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and Meek Mill.
You can play by yourself or challenge a friend. You can also track your progress on the leaderboard and see how you stack up to the rest of the competition.
Growing up, Friday was surrounded by hip-hop. Even though the kids he went to school with came from all different kinds of backgrounds they all had a therapeutic connection thanks to hip hop.
“It brought me to them, and them to me,” Friday tells Business Insider.
When it was time for high school, the coder and hip-hop aficionado ended up attending a very challenging school.
“It was horrible because I didn’t have time to program,” Friday says. “My soul was eaten up.”
Friday graduated from high school, but went to college only for the first year because he ended up hating it.
“I felt like I was being dishonest with myself in feigning excitement,” Friday says.
After dropping out, Friday released the Kanye Test — a game that ended up going viral in the online hip-hop community. In two months, people had played the game 100,000 times.
Friday also worked at a couple of Y Combinator-backed startups. One no longer exists, and the other was Circle, a social discovery app. Friday, now 21, eventually left Circle because he felt that it could “only take [him] so far.”
Luckily for Friday, Circle has taken him far enough to be able to “live off” his savings from the job. He sleeps in a walk-in closet in a house with a few Thiel Fellows — a group of college dropouts hand-selected by tech billionaire Peter Thiel and his foundation — in San Francisco.
“I want 2014 to be the year in hip hop where it’s like, ‘Remember Rap Test? That was totally 2014.'”
But The Rap Test can’t be a business, Friday says, because the “fair use doctrine prevents, and rightly so, from profiting off of copyrighted material.”
The Rap Test is a piece of transformative work in that it turns a pre-existing work of art or music into something with a new purpose. This format, Friday says, promotes artists without causing any financial harm yet engaging fans in a new way.
“It makes me cringe to think people take things for free and use them to make a profit,” Friday says.
The ultimate goal for The Rap Test is to put fair use to work for artists. But down the road, Friday hopes the music industry and artists will embrace The Rap Test.
Check out how The Rap Test in action below.