Do you ever wonder who you’re listening to when you shuffle that “Hip Hop Central’ playlist on Spotify? You’re probably just taking your time to enjoy your favorite artists, maybe hitting replay on the latest banger. Pretty standard, we all do it.
Now let me ask you, how many times have you thought about who you’re listening to? We hear all these great artists that we love and that we’ve always just loved since as long as we can remember, but how many of you have actually looked into where your favorite artists came from? How did they end up on that hype playlist on Spotify?
Well, most of you probably didn’t know that the most listened to artists on your Spotify playlist actually started off on Soundcloud. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 richest rappers who started off Soundcloud and grew to become the famous artists we pay hundreds of dollars to see perform live.
10 LIL PEEP – $100,000
Lil peep (November 1, 1996 – November 15, 2017) was a young American rapper, singer, and songwriter who accomplished a lot artistically in a short period of time. A Long-Island NYC native, Gustav Elijah Ahr (Lil peep), most known for his emo style of hip hop and rock music.
His first SoundCloud debut was in 2014 when he released several mixtapes and his popularity only grew with his collaboration with Lil Tracy. His material was so popular that he got over 200,000 followers and more than 80 million spins at the beginning. Peep is still growing; just recently on July 14th, 2019, his mother announced on Instagram that they’re putting together an album with all of his unreleased material.
9 SKI MASK THE SLUMP GOD – $1 MILLION
Ski Mask, aka Stokeley Clevon Goulbourne, grew up listening to Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne, and Missy Elliott. In juvie, he met none other than XXXTentacion, where they collaborated on songs prior to their release. Ski Mask formed the rap group “Very Rare” and released his first song on SoundCloud called “Catch Me” in late 2015. He continued to grow as his first EP was released in June of 2016, called Very Rare Lost Files.
8 DENZEL CURRY – $1 MILLION
This 24-year-old American rapper, singer, and songwriter began his musical career in the 6th grade when he first started rapping. In 2011, he started working on his first mixtape. He released his first-ever track called “Hate Government [demo]” on SoundCloud on May 13th, 2017. His popularity skyrocketed, which led him to release two other tracks called “Equalizer [demo]” and “ZELTRON 6 BILLION” ft. Lil Ugly Mane.
His material was not only a big hit because it was good but due to his cryptic social media posts, which looked as though he had an alter ego called Zeltron. In only two years, Curry’s fame shot up, and his net worth as of 2019 is estimated to be $1 million.
7 XXXTENTACION – $2 MILLION
Here’s another rapper who left behind a legacy of great music before his passing. XXXTentacion, talented rapper of multiethnic origins (Italian, Egyptian, Jamaican, and Indian) was a member of the rap group called Members Only. His rise to fame began with his single “Look at Me,” and he continued to grow with the release of “Sad!,” “Changes,” and “Moonlight”. Before his death, he released an album titled “?” on March 16th, 2018.
6 TRIPPIE REDD – $4 MILLION
Trippie Redd, or Lil 14, began his career with the release of his mixtape “A Love Letter To You” in Ma7 of 2017 on SoundCloud, which got more than 13 million spins. This mixtape included songs like “Love Scars” (tatted on his face, FYI), “Romeo and Juliet,” “Blade of Woe”.
He continued to grow when he was featured on X’s song “F*ck Love” in 2017. He’s grown so much in two years that he’s released his fourth mixtape in February 2019, released by TenThousand Projects.
5 JUICE WRLD – $5 MILLION
This 20-year-old American rapped rose to fame with the well-known singles, “Lucid Dreams” and “All Girls Are The Same,” two songs that we’ve pretty much all either liked or really related with. These two songs that he dropped on SoundCloud are definitely the result of his fame. The Chicago, Illinois native continued to climb the pop culture ladder when he signed a $3 million dollar contract with Interscope Records in March 2018. Now, he has 23+ million monthly listeners on Spotify!
4 21 SAVAGE – $8 MILLION
21 Savage (currently 26) grew to fame when he was discovered by Atlanta rapper “Key!” who introduced him to some other music producers. It ended up being producer Metro who helped him release his first mixtape titled “The Slaughter Tape”. He continued to grow with the release of his first EP on July 15th, 2016 titled “Savage Mode”. He also gained his popularity through his 981k followers on SoundCloud.
3 POST MALONE – $12 MILLION
So, most of you probably don’t know this, but Post Malone is a country fan. Ok, ok… maybe not, but he grew up in Texas, and his first musical experience was dominating guitar hero. Then, he upgraded to his first (real, not virtual) musical instrument, a Washburn Lyon. This wasn’t enough for him though, and he continued to follow his dreams and moved to LA, where he grew popularity by performing with the group, BLKCVRD.
His fame as an individual artist though began on SoundCloud, where he released “White Iverson” in August 2015. This song landed him a recording contract with none other than Republic Records. This single did so well that it was named in reference to NBA star Allen Iverson. It continued to grow and landed on number 14 in the Billboards Hot 100.
His growth didn’t stop, though. He continued with a few more collabs with Justin Bieber, Quavo, and Kehlani. In May 2018, Malone featured in the well-known “Jackie Chan” single that all you low-key rave fans are obsessed with. He even made it onto the soundtrack of the 2018 Spider-Man film with his single “Sunflower”.
2 TRAVIS SCOTT – $15 MILLION
Another American rapper who grew up in Texas, Scott actually didn’t take similar paths like the other rappers listed above. He finished high school and began studying at Texas University until he dropped out after 2 years to pursue his musical career. It was a good choice, as well, because he grew to be very famous despite a little bit of a slow start.
His first release was in 2009 with his friend Chris Holloway. In 2011 he moved to LA to grow his networking and of course, it was a good idea because, in 2012, he signed to Epic Records and Kanye West’s Good Music. He continued to grow with his mixtape, Owl Pharaoh, in 2013, which featured nonother than great artists such as Wale, 2 Chains, Meek Mill, and ASAP Ferg.
Scott’s most popular album to date was Astroworld in 2018, which topped charts in the States, Canada, Belgium, and New Zealand. He has 1.52 million followers on SoundCloud.
1 LIL UZI VERT – $15 MILLION
This rapper’s 2.4 million fans on SoundCloud can’t get enough of him. His early recognition started in 2015 when he featured on Carnage’s single “WDYW.” Before that, though, he independently released two mixtapes in 2014 titled “Purple Thoughtz EP Vol. 1” and “The Real submachine gun.” His second solo, “Luv Is Rage,” was discharged in 2017 on SoundCloud. Uzi was ranked #17 on the 2018 Forbes Hip-Hop Cash Kings list.