By Jason Kreloff
645AR, despite nobody knowing his real name or identity, deals with a lot of slander everyday on internet blogs, in video reactions, and even on his own Instagram and Twitter pages. Comments range from the simple, “645AR is trash” to backhanded jokes like “645AR makes music only dogs can hear.” However, like any serious artist who truly believes in their craft, he takes all of the criticism and hate in stride.
Born in the Bronx, New York, and known as the “squeak rapper,” 645AR is widely acknowledged for his completely out of the box vocal delivery. It’s an extremely high pitched and light falsetto which he has mastered to the point of using it as a useful and versatile tool: able to be rapped or sung in a beautiful autotune croon. After moving to Atlanta and beginning to take music more seriously, the young rapper and singer started using his studio sessions to experiment with his voice. Finally a 2018 studio session birthed what is now known as the “squeak,” something that AR claims his competition would be doing if only they could.
In his song, “Yoga,” which now has over two million streams, 645AR raps about life in the streets — drugs, violence, money, gang activities — in a voice that sounds like Mickey Mouse after inhaling three balloons full of helium. The bouncing 808 bass is a direct counterpart to AR’s voice, serving as a perfect juxtaposition of extreme high and low frequencies on the spectrum.
645AR shows that he can serenade an audience of millions by singing in a sombre yet high pitched delivery on “4 Da Trap.” This song is a lyrical departure from his other tracks, as he reminisces about the days when he “had no racks… the days I ain’t had no stacks” — a now economically stable man thinking back on hard times when he had to rely on the streets in order to eat.
Often compared to Playboi Carti’s “baby voice,” 645AR’s vocal delivery has somewhat cursed him with an abundance of labels. However, AR and Carti could not be more different. Whereas Playboi Carti’s style focuses on minimalism and repetition, 645AR always presents verses which have been carefully crafted, and saves repetition only for the hook.
Produced by Spaghetti J, his breakout hit, “Bible and a K” is the most aggressive that 645 has ever approached a beat. Still using his shrill voice but pushing his vocals to their absolute highest, in claiming he rides with a Bible and a K, 645AR shows the gravity of his situation — needing both a firearm and the Holy Bible to protect himself.
Finally, the significance of memes in 645AR’s career cannot be overlooked. One of his most recent singles, “In Love With A Stripper,” blew up on emerging social media platforms TikTok and Triller, which allow users to make and edit their own music videos on their phones. 645AR haters and fans alike used the apps to engage with the hit song, often including references to AR being as small as a mouse and accidentally being stepped on. Others used the song’s release as an excuse to criticize the artist, saying that he should quit rap. However he takes these small jabs in stride and sometimes reposts their thoughts on his Instagram account.
Overall, whether you think he’s a complete joke or not, 645AR is doing huge numbers, is signed to Columbia Records, and is widely influential right now in the world of rap and hip-hop music. Stop hating and hop on the squeaky wave!