Inside the Making of Sand Hill Road (The Remix)
LJ Erwin
By LJ Erwin
5 min read
Helen Nash
Lisa Hopkins
Pramod Bhatt
Brent Newton
William Curtis
Deniel Fasco
+46
How a fun writing project transformed into a founder anthem
The backstory behind “Sand Hill Road (The Remix)” began with a challenge.
I was asked by a friend to submit a writing sample for a SF parody play poking fun at Silicon Valley. Being a fan of Hamilton, I knew I wanted to create a hip-hop stylized parody rap about Silicon Valley, but nothing was clicking.
Later that week, while walking back to my apartment, I saw a young teenager bumping Old Town Road on a Bird scooter, and a lightbulb went off.
Ninety percent of the lyrics flooded through my pen in an hour. However, the last 10 percent took a few more days. Finding words that rhymed with the bar “Keto Diets, Haus, and Sweetgreens” took a while. I ended up asking a rapper buddy of mine for advice and, like Yoda, he said, “Trust the process. You can’t rush art.”
With the lyrics on the pad, I knew what would really lift the words off the page would be producing the song — raps, chorus, singing and all.
Although I’ve never produced a song before, two things were working in my favor. First, anything can be learned on the internet. And there were tons of “How To” videos on Youtube and free apps I could download to get the production work done. Second, I’m from Texas, and I grew up listening to country music in my dad’s 1968 Chevy truck. Although I’m not that into country, I can recite a ton of hits from the '90s because that’s all my dad used to listen to on our way home from basketball practice.
It turns out, my ear for Texas country music was helpful because I ended up having to match the singsong-y chorus with Billy Ray Cyrus’s rhythmic verse in the song. Also, I don’t have any vocal range, which made my voice great for country. 🤠
After listening to the final version and hearing feedback from friends that it was pretty good, I decided to share the song on Twitter and YouTube.
Lil Nas X and what he represents inspires me. He recently opened up about his sexuality, which sparked diversity discussions in both hip-hop and country music industries alike. I hope that any buzz generated from "Sand Hill Road (The Remix)" can be used to highlight organizations that are impacting diversity and inclusion in tech, such as Code2040, Girls Who Code, Kapor Center, dev/color, Black & Brown Founders, Lesbians Who Tech, Techqueria and AnitaB.org.
The new artist path closely parallels that of an early stage founder, who is also on a mission to transform their vision into reality, despite the odds. Although this project started as a writing challenge, I hope the song becomes a rally anthem for founders.
The lyric "Can’t no’ VC tell me nothin’…" really means that if you’re building something that generates value for your users, then mute any doubt or negativity from the naysayers and continue believing in your vision. Listen to your users, follow the growth, and soon you’ll be invited down to Sand Hill Road to “raise until you can’t no mo.”
Official lyrics:
I'm gonna take my startup down to Sand Hill Rd./ I'm gonna raise till I can't no mo'/ I'm gonna take my startup down to Sand Hill Rd./ I'm gonna raise till I can't no mo'
I got the laptop in the bag/ Herschel on da’ tags/ iWatch matted black/ Got the Allbird's black to match/ Ridin’ on a Scooooter/ You can take your Uuuuber/ I pitch in the Valley/ You ain't seen a Rosewood cougar
Can't no VC tell me nothin’/ they can’t tell me nothin’!/ Can't no VC tell me nothin’/ They can’t tell me nothin’!
I’mma 2x founder/ Soylent in my bladder/ Dropped straight outta’ Berkeley/ Daniel Gross is my advisor/ My life is a movie/ VR, not that 2D/ Blue check on my Twitter/ Orange YC up on my hoodie/
Can't no VC tell me nothin’/ They can’t tell me nothin’!/ Can't no VC tell me nothin’/ They can’t tell me nothin’!
Yeaaah, I'm gonna take my startup down to Sand Hill Rd./ I'm gonna raise till I can't no mo'/ I'm gonna take my startup down to Sand Hill Rd./ I'm gonna raise till I can't no mo'/
Front-end, back-end, coding like a Dev Pro/ AI, ML, Blockchain mixed with Crypto/ VCs got a habit: Keto Diets, Haus, and SweetGreens/ Call me Queen of Dragons, spitting fire on these VCs/ Got no stress / I pitch back to back / I cook clouds in the kitchen like Kalinack/ I’m done with goin' back to Sand Hill Rd, I’m gonna raaaise an ICO...
Yeaaah, I'm gonna take my startup down to Sand Hill Rd./ I'm gonna raise till I can't no mo'/ I'm gonna take my startup down to Sand Hill Rd./ I'm gonna raise till I can't no mo'
Notes
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Love this! I am going to share this with my entrepreneurship and internet marketing class. So many fun messages in your post. "The new artist path closely parallels that of an early-stage founder, who is also on a mission to transform their vision into reality, despite the odds. Although this project started as a writing challenge, I hope the song becomes a rally anthem for founders." Out of every challenge, emerges opportunity...
Haha this is amazing!!
This is amazing! If anyone wants to donate to the charities here's a link to them all: https://alma.app/funds/sand-hill...
Thank you for making my day - and thanks for making diversity your focus.
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