Hip-hop has always been moved by the youth. Just take a look back at how the genre began in the Bronx in 1973, when a young DJ Kool Herc played song instrumentals known as "breaks" at a back-to-school jam and friend Coke La Rock hopped on the mic to hype up the crowd. These days, an eager rapper looking to get put on only needs an internet connection and a system to record to be heard. Sixteen-year-old Las Vegas-bred rapper Ka$hdami relied on the power of the internet to get his music to the masses eight years ago. Now, he's turned into a viral sensation.
Back when he was 8 years old, Ka$hdami recorded his first song on the now-defunct video chat app ooVoo. By the time he was 13, the aspiring artist bought a microphone and began recording with the program Audacity on his mom's computer. He was inspired by the Black Eyed Peas, who were a dominant group at the time. In 2018, Ka$h delivered his first official track, "Kappin Up," which he created at a friend's house.
"Kappin Up" features a younger Ka$hdami rapping about the streets and stringing together frank observations about violence and beefs he was getting into at the time. His youthful voice and wild subject matter drew a lot of comparisons to Tay-K, which changed once Ka$h's voice got deeper. After dropping The Humor Tape, his first mixtape at 13, the rhymer took a year off from rap. He considered giving it all up for good until "Kappin Up" started to take off online, thanks to both the song's accompanying video, which arrived in 2020, and TikTok. The Kappin Up Challenge, in which people chase their phone around, also moved the song across social media.
Following that, Ka$hdami was back in action with a firm belief he could go far with his music. He spent 2020 dropping tapes Ka$h Don't Miss and 16, along with more videos. Then 2021 would be the year where everything came together. In January of this year, Ka$h dropped the song "Reparations!," on which he rhymes with the same SoundCloud rap-influenced style he always had, but his style adjusted with the times. His sense of humor is more off the wall, and his beat choice is unique. "You could get mopped if I hear that you hatin'/It's crazy how niggas be fuckin' with Satan," he raps on the key-heavy production. The song, barely over a minute, now has over 23 million streams on Spotify.
"Look N The Mirror!," his eventual follow-up track, is currently at more than 18 million streams on the streaming service. In May, as Ka$hdami's tracks gained more traction, he signed to Republic Records, a label supporting rap's youth movement with artists like Ski Mask The Slump God and Coi Leray. Both songs are featured on Ka$h's latest project, Epiphany, released this past June. This music helped catapult him up the ranks of new young rappers making a name for themselves in the game.
Next up, Ka$hdami is releasing the upcoming mixtape Hypernova, both "beautiful" and "mind-boggling," according to him. Get to know Ka$hdami in XXL's The Break.
Hometown: Las Vegas
I grew up listening to: "A lot of Famous Dex, Diego Money, but when I was growing up though, I was listening to a lot of gospel. As a child, gospel was really in my face. It helped influence a lot of my melodies. So gospel, soul music, R&B, all that."
My style’s been compared to: "Tay-K and YBN Nahmir, DCTheDon, too. SoFaygo, BabySantana, Ski Mask The Sump God. The whole new underground scene. Basically, any young rapper. It's just weird to me, I can't control my voice."
I’m going to blow up because: "I always just stay in contact with my fans, I have group chats and I have Discords where I talk to them. I'm always getting their opinion on it, so they are like my direct source. They tell me whenever things be going on. That's why I fuck with my fans so much. They like family. We just talk. They'll let me know if they don't really fuck with a song or if they fuck with it a lot. They always tell me. I feel like they always point me in the right direction. And my team."
What’s your most slept-on song, and why?: "SoFaygo and my song called 'Laser Tag.' They slept on that. A lotta people don't even know we have a song. They slept on '50.' That's just me. Definitely 'Lysol,' that song crank, too. And 'Beep Freestyle.' I feel like those are all underrated. Those songs are older, so you really gotta search for ’em. The songs that everybody chooses to gravitate to, it's really interesting, for real."
My standout records to date have been: "Definitely 'Reparations,' then 'Look N The Mirror!'. Then after that, I'd say 'Public' or '14.'"
My standout moments to date have been: "I did this free show in L.A., and it was really crazy. The vibe in the room was spectacular. They knew all the words. There wasn't a single song they wasn't rapping with me. I'd say that was the craziest moment for me personally. I ain't know people fucked with my shit that much, where they know every single song. They over here screaming, telling me to play songs and all this shit. This was like two weeks ago. I was walking at Lyrical Lemonade through the crowd with no security, me and my manager, and my producer. We were just greeting fans, taking pictures with them. It was so fun. That was in Chicago."
Most people don’t know: "I'm vegetarian, which is a very random fact. People don't know that I've been doing this shit for how long I been doing it. I've had this same like 'The Plug' sound. I been doing this since I was a child, literally. I've really just grown up into this shit."
I’m going to be the next: "Ka$hdami?"
"Look N The Mirror!"