The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

Menlo Alum and Rapper Quadeca Soars to Hip-Hop Heights

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Ben Lasky (’19), aka Quadeca, performs while on tour for his 2022 studio album “I Didn’t Mean To Haunt You.” “My fans just have this great energy and in my recent show I felt it even more,” he said. Photo courtesy of Lasky

Menlo alum Ben Lasky (‘19) has always considered music his greatest passion. Though most now know him as the rapper and singer-songwriter Quadeca — whose music contains unique elements of experimental hip hop, R&B and pop — Lasky started out as a typical Menlo student with a passion for music, a piano and a camera.

Lasky began making music at a young age, but kept his work to himself — he didn’t tell many of his friends about his passion until he began to gain a following on social media for videos he would post of himself playing piano. His account took off after he posted a video of him performing an original rap for his middle school talent show in 2014, with the video surpassing 2 million views on YouTube. “Looking back, I see [my music] was not as good as I thought,” Lasky said in an email to the Coat of Arms. “Since I started at a young age, I didn’t want people to know about my music until it started doing well with the audience I had obtained through YouTube.”

Lasky began to make YouTube videos that he would publish every week, and his focus stretched to video game commentary and other content. However, producing music remained his main focus. “I only shifted to video games and other styles of videos as it felt like people would accept me more if I did that,” Lasky said. “Music can be intimidating, especially once I start[ed] gaining an audience.” 

Though he continues to make YouTube videos as a side hobby of sorts, he began to exclusively make music to take his career to the next level. “Sometimes I do miss those [YouTube] days but truly I think now I’m doing what I was always meant to do,” he said. Lasky released his debut mixtape, “Work in Progress,” on Sept. 16, 2015, at the age of 14, which was self-released and garnered over 10 million streams on Spotify.

Lasky’s love for music shined throughout his time at Menlo. For one class, he made an original hip-hop rap titled “Under Construction,” which he filmed with his classmates around Menlo’s campus. “I’m pretty sure none of my fans have seen [it] before, and it’s pretty embarrassing, but it shows how my time in Menlo and my music career intertwined,” Lasky said. 

He also completed a year-long IP Capstone project his senior year, which he called “Narrative Flow in Contemporary Songwriting.” He shared a literary analysis of his lyrics and presented on how literary devices, like extended metaphors or melodic refrains, can be employed in an album to create themes between songs. 

Ben Lasky (’19) takes a free kick for Menlo boys soccer against Sacred Heart Prep in 2019. He was a tri-captain for the Knights. File photo: Bella Scola

Lasky’s musical career has not been without its challenges. One of his albums, “FMTY,” took over a year longer than expected to be released, which sparked commentary within his fan base. “It’s terrifying to release something because that is when it leaves your control, and for someone who struggles with OCD, making music can be a nightmare for that reason,” Lasky said. “To this day there are still hundreds of changes I would probably make, but I’m happy I didn’t as I grew a lot from this release.”   

Lasky recently finished his album “SCRAPYARD,” which includes creative pieces that didn’t fit with the themes of his prior albums and additional improvised tracks. “Overall, ‘SCRAPYARD’ is just playing around in the studio and creating songs very dear to my heart that I felt deserved to be listened to by others,” he said.

Lasky said that he is unsure what the future holds, but he is holding himself to creating a new album that is the best he is capable of. Hopefully, said Lasky, the future includes more touring, potentially in other continents like Europe on top of the United States. “The future is exciting, as I feel like I’m finally escaping the ‘YouTube rapper’ agenda and shifting into making actual art,” Lasky said. “I’m so excited to start this new era and […] I know it will be worth the wait.”

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About the Contributor
Alyssa McAdams
Alyssa McAdams, Print Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 2

Favorite aspect of journalism: Layout days, because we get to listen to music and eat snacks and talk while we work together on print

Interests outside of school: Soccer, flag football, piano, and spending time with my dog

Class of 2025

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