Music by Aidan Cullen ‘22 is featured in movie F9

Known professionally as “Crunch,” Cullen’s latest song from the tenth installment in the Fast & Furious series has over 9 million listens on SoundCloud.


Cullen’s career took off after an unexpected connection led to a collaboration with widely known rapper Tory Lanez. 

“Actually, it came with a lot of luck,” Cullen said. “I really was just a kid in my basement making beats, and I would post them on my Instagram sometimes, just a snippet on my story or something. And someone that had been in the industry for a while saw it and [sent a direct message saying], ‘wow, like, that’s really good.’” 

Within two weeks, this professional connection had arranged the partnership with Lanez, who became a source of inspiration for Cullen. A song featuring Cullen’s beat and vocals from both Lanez and Kevin Gates appears on the soundtrack of the latest Fast & Furious movie, F9.

Cullen’s music journey, however, began nearly fifteen years earlier. 

“When I was about three years old, I picked up drum sticks from my brother’s drum set and just started banging around… and when I was in, say, second grade, I picked up the guitar for the first time and started playing around. That led to me playing the bass, I taught myself ukulele, and just moved to teaching myself instruments, learning songs, stuff like that.”

He now plays a total of six instruments, including the piano and the flute, and plays drums in the Modern Jazz Ensemble. 

In eighth grade, Cullen discovered the world of electronic music and beat making, which led to a pause in his acoustic music explorations.

 “I convinced my parents to let me get this $100 software, and I started messing around. It was super hard and confusing; I was terrible for the first year,” Cullen said. “But then it grew to me and I literally just, like, fell in love with it and I stopped playing instruments for a while because I really only wanted to focus on this.”

While his vision was not initially to make a career out of beat making, his passion grew from a “fun hobby” to “[working] for, like, six hours a night on this because [he] loved it so much.” 

At one point, Cullen was making beats with a friend for fun when he decided to create an artistic pseudonym for himself.

 “We were like, what’s the stupidest name we can come up with?” Cullen recalls. “It was originally ‘Cap’n Crunch,’ because I loved Cap’n Crunch [the cereal], but as I got more into it I had my name everywhere.” As his reputation grew, he decided to simplify the name to ‘Crunch.’ 

Cullen, however, regrets naming himself that, as the origins of the name were a joke among friends. “I hate that name, but everyone in the industry just calls me Aidan, my first name,” Cullen noted. 

Today, Cullen loves making beats for rap songs, as well as “80’s-style dance tracks… reformed into modern pop.” He named one musician that inspired this interest, saying, “I think a great example of that is The Weeknd. A lot of his popular songs are literally… 80’s tracks turned into a modern pop song.” Cullen added that he would love to collaborate with The Weeknd someday, as the Grammy®-awarded artist is a source of inspiration for his music. 

Cullen can be frequently seen in the Duffy Arts Center making music, but ideas can come to him at any time. 

“I’m, like, walking around school and I’ll think of the melody in my head and be like, ‘wow, I need to make a beat out of that.’ So as soon as I get the chance, I’ll write it down and record myself singing it for when I go home,” Cullen said. 

When collaborating with other artists, Cullen says, some vocalists will send him a melody and he will add drums, creating a full accompanying track. More often, though, Cullen will create a beat and then send it to another artist, who will add lyrics. 

Cullen currently has unreleased collaborations in-progress with JackBoys, an album that features Travis Scott and various rappers; Chris Brown, Saweetie, and Megan Thee Stallion, Dua Lipa, and Justin Beiber. 

Cullen has many possibilities for his future as a musician, and currently plans to move to Los Angeles after graduating from Malvern. 

“I think we’re gonna call it a gap year for now. I’m going to move out to LA, buy my own place, buy my own car, and just try music full-time and see how I like it and see if I do really well,” Cullen said. “By the end of that year, if I’m supporting myself well and feel like I can make a living for the rest of my life, I’ll just skip out on college… but if I end up not doing well out there, I’ll go back to school and reevaluate.” 

Cullen’s work can be found on Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, and all other major music streaming platforms.