July 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

AutoRap Beats Pandora, Spotify as Most Popular iOS App by Converting Speech to Rap

khush autorap

Khush (now part of Smule) CEO Prerna Gupta spoke with Evolver.fm for this article.

If you’re looking for another fun music app to amuse yourself and your friends — or perhaps if you want to try rapping but totally can’t do it — AutoRap, a spectacular new effort from the app-makers at Smule, would make a great addition to your app collection.

After developing the smash-hit app Songify, which has under 10 million downloads on iOS and 2.7 million on Android, Smule and its partners on that project, the YouTube-famous Gregory Brothers, is at it again with AutoRap – currently the top free music app in iTunes, beating out Pandora and Spotify. Whereas Songify aimed to make you and your friends hit-makers, AutoRap wants to transform you into a rap star. Best of all: it can fix your mistakes and add elements that turn whatever rhythmless chant you can manage into something resembling an actual rap song.

Being a rap aficionado, I was excited to check out this rap app. Just like Songify, AutoRap is dead simple to use, and lets you do something pretty neat. Simply speak into the app, press stop, and before you know it, AutoRap’s proprietary “rappification” software gets to work, editing and rediting your vocals to match it to the beat of your choice. Believe it or not, the app spits out an incredibly polished track for you and your friends to enjoy. This “rappification” technology is truly astonishing.

In an exclusive interview with Prerna Gupta (the CEO of Khush, which was acquired by Smule), I learned that Smule’s goal is to give anyone the tools and technology in to make music. Democratizing music creation is great as a concept, but what’s more impressive is that it really works. For example, it works with any human speech, regardless of the language. I tried it out with both English and Spanish, despite my lack of a heavy accent, and surprisingly, the app produced a hilarious Spanish remix of Snoop Dogg and Pharrell’s always-fresh “Drop It Like It’s Hot.”

Plenty of backing tracks are included in three categories: Featured, Freestyle, and Premium. Freestyle consists of beats made by lesser-known artists such as Wilione and MidiMafia (both also featured on Songify), along with ones you might recognize: Karmin, Lemez and Fridel, and DeStorm Power.

The Premium backing tracks represent a marked improvement over the Rap Beats Pack in AutoRap’s predecessor, Songify. You get hip-hop classics such as Tupac’s “California Love,” Nelly’s “Country Grammar,” OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson,” Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic,” and even the throwback one-hit wonders “Tipsy” by Jkwon. However, the tracks on AutoRap aren’t limited to rap’s storied past — you can also rap with newer smash hits: “Your Love” by Nicki Minaj, “Boss” by Rick Ross, “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem, and “Hello” by Karmin.

Despite the large offering of classic beats that you can use in the app, only two beats come completely free and unlimited:”Turkey Burgers” by MidiMafia and “OneOneOne” by Wilione. The rest of the tracks require that you use your “plays.” 18 plays are included free with the app. As with Songify, users can watch advertisements to gain one free play; buy 60 plays for $3, or unlimited pays for $6. Complicating matters slightly — this is only for Freestyle songs. For Premium tracks, you get one play fior free by watching an ad, 40 plays for $3, 80 for $5, 200 for $9, or 500 plays for $19.

Once you’ve selected your beat and AutoRap works its magic on whatever you want to say, the finished track appears in the Rappertoire section — a database for your verses. Your finished product also gets sent to the Top Rappers database, featuring tracks from all over the world.

Most importantly, for an app like this, AutoRap was more fun than any other app I’ve used recently. The intuitive interface has been reworked from Songify and the quality of the beats and overall aesthetics of the app seem to have improved.

AutoRap not only made me smile, but it made me a bilingual emcee, busting out rap recordings with a production quality to what Pitbull and Lil’ Wayne are throwing down.