Losing himself in the music: Anirrudha Chiplunkar (‘23)’s journey as a rapper


Carol Xu

Since childhood, Chiplunkar’s life has been filled with music–his determination and drive mean that he never deviates from his routine of writing or playing music every single day.

Anirrudha Chiplunkar (‘23), otherwise known by the performance name “r3alistic”, is filled with music, life and the absolute love for creation. He writes songs and rap, Inspired by friends, family, and a love for life.

 He’s a high school junior who lives in the suburbs of the Bay Area, Pleasanton. He goes to high school like any other teenager, and has his friends, grades, and girls to worry about.

But what he does have that most other teenagers don’t is an aspiring career in rapping and beat producing. He’s a traveler under the wide open blue skies of youth and music, of trails of lyrics and scores. His journey as an aspiring rapper and music creator has taken him far on his dreams and hard work.

The ball left his hand, sailed through the air, missed and barely hit the net.

Here, in the sweltering sun of a typical California March, the musician played basketball, talking about the ups and downs of life and dreams.

“Nothing but net,” said Chiplunkar. He sighed, and began the long arduous journey to pick up the ball so that he could shoot it again.

r3alistic has gone from a small channel on Youtube and Soundcloud, barely bringing in double digit views, to having a consistent following with over 200 subscribers on Youtube and averaging double and triple digit views on each video in the course of his career, starting from 2018.

“Small steps, but that’s how it is,” said Chiplunkar.

But the numbers don’t matter-it’s the joy and the hours that he puts into creating music.

“Right now, none because of school. But before, I’d spend, there’s not really a concrete number of hours everyday, but probably three or four hours, because recording and writing doesn’t take too long, and generally I’m good at songwriting. It’s the production that takes time”, said Chiplunkar

It’s the busy high school teenage life. 

“Yeah. We all got things to do. Even after this, I gotta go shopping, do homework, and there’s always drama that you gotta sort out,”  Chiplunkar sighed.

On the opposite court, loud rap music plays from a bluetooth speaker. Chiplunkar can’t help but do a little jiggle with the beat as sweat drips down his neck.  

“I’ve loved music since I was a kid. My dad plays the harmonium, and he plays in an orchestra and local bands all around. So yeah, I’ve been around music all my life, and I just love it,” he says. He shoots again. “Love it,” he states. 

“Identity made from scratch, bars from the top of my head ain’t cap, yeah.”- F.O.E. 

Chiplunkar also plays trumpet in the school band. He’s marched with the Amador marching band as well, ever since his freshman year. Three years of connecting with fellow band members, learning about music, and developing his marching skills have made him into a friendly mentor for his fellow trumpets.

“Ani is filled with life, he is filled with the vital energy of creation… A serious creativity. He’s committed, works really hard, and has a great attitude,” said Jonathan Grantham, his band teacher of three years.

While band is inherently not the same thing as rapping, as band is about performing music on a specific wind or percussion instrument, and rapping allows much more room for creativity in its songwriting Chiplunkar loves both. 

“Though I don’t see him in band through his rap, I see him as he shows up as a musician. And I think it’s pretty awesome.” said Grantham.

Chiplunkar laughs as he recalls this year’s marching season, bringing up happy memories of band and friends. 

“Yeah, it’s great. Lots of homies in the band,” said Chiplunkar.

Band is very important to him. It’s where he’s discovered fellow musicians and an musically inclined environment where he could freely create and tap into his passion, especially for lyric composing.

 “You know, when I first really got into lyric writing, I had a little book. I’ve lost it now, but I used to take it with me on buses to marching band competitions. Making the beats is a bit harder for me, and I use Logic Pro X to do that,” said Chiplunkar

Lyric writing is something Chiplunkar has always been good at. It comes naturally to him, making words rhyme and verses fit to a rhythm. It started out first with only just words, then gradually added music and beats. Filling one book is no problem for Chiplunkar–nor is two.

“Now? Now I just use loose pieces of paper. No problem there,” said Chiplunkar.

During the marching season, Chiplunkar spends upwards of 20 hours a week outside of school at band practice, not including the day-long competitions during show season. After the marching band is over for the year, the concert band requires hour-long commitments of practice and effort every day.

“You know, in school, band’s helped a lot. A lot of rappers don’t know what a lot of theory is – stuff like keys, rhythm, stuff like that. You learn about that from band. It’s also just fun, playing music and marching with friends,” said Chiplunkar.

Laughing as he takes a break, he jokes about Kanye West and Pete Davidson, and proposes ideas for cool marching band themes. A Dark Knight themed show seems to appeal strongly to Chiplunkar.

Chiplunkar can rap about anything-from his section leader in the band during freshman year, Gio Cerutti, to deeper topics like friends and family. His songwriting skills are vivid in language, wholesome, and never over flashy or shallow. Always refraining from profanity, his favorite themes to rap about are his friends, his family, hard work, and an optimism in the future and his success. It never focuses on money and drugs, a common issue among modern rappers.

“It’s inspiring to see his growth and progress as a musician. It’s very clear that he’s passionate about making music and it’s also super neat to hear that passion in his songs. Ani has immense creative potential and it’s great to see him use that to make really cool things”, said Sathvik Parasa, a close friend of Chiplunkar’s.

Some of Chiplunkar’s favorite artists are Enimem and Travis Scott. His favorite, in no particular order, are Lil Baby, Travis Scott. Hans Zimmer, Ludwig Gorranson, The Score

“I listen to a lot of music, too. It’s how I learn and get better. Plus, the movies are so good. Interstellar has got to be my favorite movie ever. The Prestige is great too,” said Ani.

Surprising – that’s a very diverse range of artists and composers. Travis Scott is one the generation’s most famous rappers, while Hans Zimmer and Goransson are composers for grand movies, with epic soundtracks for movies like Interstellar, The Dark Knight, and Black Panther.

“I just love the movies, but especially the way that you feel the emotion when you watch the movies and hear the soundtrack. ‘Cornfield Chase’ from Interstellar gets me every time. ‘Mountains’, too. And ‘Cornfield Chase’. “ Chiplunkar smiled. 

“All the time in the universe, I’ll be me – but that ain’t the thing thing I’m gonna boast.” – F.O.E

Chiplunkar missed a lot of shots that day playing pickup and listening to music. But shooting shots takes work and time–and Chiplunkar’s starting to make more of them. 

“It doesn’t matter if you’re doing music or not. Trust your instincts, trust your dreams, trust how you’ll develop your skills, and you’ll make it. Aw’right?” he grins.

Ani Chiplunkar is going to capture his opportunity. He’s going to get lost in the music, own this moment, this once-in-a-lifetime chance, and he’s never gonna let it go.