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The Daily Tar Heel

First-year 'Speedy Sprag' splits his time running track and rapping

Track Athlete/Rapper

Michael Spragley, an athlete on the UNC track team, is also a Soundcloud rapper. Photo courtesy of Michael Spragley. 

It takes a lot of guts to ask someone to check out your SoundCloud with full belief that they won't think your music is trash. Michael Spragley did exactly that last week on the eighth floor of Davis Library. 

He goes by the name Speedy Sprag — because he is a fast runner, he said. He expresses himself through running and rapping: Spragley is a first-year distance runner on the UNC track and field and cross country teams. He typically runs the one-mile and two-mile races. 

"I started running in the sixth grade because I was in gym class," Spragley said. "I ran a six-minute mile and my gym teacher said I should join the track team, and ever since then, I've been running."

Also an exercise and sports science major, Spragley is working to find a good balance between his schoolwork, his sport and rapping. 

He started rapping at a young age, thanks to a popular Disney Channel original movie, "Let It Shine," about a shy teenager who has a secret rapping talent that ultimately wins him the girl of his dreams. 

"I was like, 'Dang, this man is cool,'" Spragley said. "So I memorized all the songs, and ever since then, I just started writing."

That movie motivated him to write his first song, "Ball Like Curry," and upload it to SoundCloud. The song has now been played over 2,000 times. 

Spragley was so amazed by the positive responses that he continued to write. Along with spitting the bars on his tracks, he also produces many of his songs using Logic Pro software. 

His most popular song, "Acid Trip," has been played more than 17,000 times. The song samples Chance The Rapper's "Brain Cells."

"He really kind of popped off," said sophomore Adysen Rothman, who recently listened to "Acid Trip."

The term "SoundCloud rappers" often gets a bad rap — no pun intended — and many students interviewed by the DTH were skeptical about listening to Spragley's track. But most were left impressed by his wordplay.

"He reminds me of YBN Cordae," Reana Johnson, a senior communications major, said. "The lyrics are straight to the point, but also catchy. I would have loved hearing different flows, but overall, it was pretty good, and I would listen to it more than once."

Spragley is now venturing out from SoundCloud, with his new album, "Overthinking," which can be found on Apple Music and Spotify. Similar to some of YBN Cordae's songs, his lyrics tell a story about a time in his life where he faced challenges that many people can relate to. 

"It's just about how I overthought stuff in high school," Spragley said. "I had crushes and you know, it's just like a bunch of love songs about that, and they're really dope." 


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