Collage of 21 Savage, Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti.
Source: Mike Coppola/FilmMagic; Joseph Okpako/WireImage; Joseph Okpako/WireImage

From SoundCloud to Global Superstars: Famous Rappers Who Got Their Start on the Streaming Platform

SoundCloud was one of the first platforms to give rappers in the digital age a head start in their career. Here are a few who actually got famous!


Nov. 28 2023, Published 12:49 p.m. ET

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Before streaming platforms like Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify became a force in the music world, sites like SoundCloud, DatPiff, and YouTube were at the forefront of music marketing in the rap world.

They each provided an avenue for up-and-coming artists to share their songs with the world and develop a fan base. Below is a list of now-famous rappers who successfully used SoundCloud as a launch pad and went ahead to achieve mainstream success.

PnB Rock

pnb rock
Source: Taylor Hill/WireImage

PnB Rock performs MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The late PnB Rock is one of the many rappers who made their musical debut on SoundCloud.

Before the streaming era evolved into what it is today, SoundCloud helped propel PnB Rock into the limelight and gave him access to a loyal fan base.

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PnB Rock is no longer with us, but his legacy lives on. Before the Philadelphia native died, he released hit songs like "Feelins" and "Selfish," which showcased his melodic music style and distinct sound.

Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi Vert is relevant musically because of their ability to transcend genres while maintaining the core of their emo vibe.

In the years since they got their start on the streaming platform, Uzi has received several Grammy nominations as well as nods from several other prestigious award organizations.

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The "Just Wanna Rock" artist has been featured on songs with top-ranked artists like Nicki Minaj, Future, and Lil Wayne.

Lil Uzi Vert has also mastered the art of staying relevant, which is another art form on its own that should be studied.

21 Savage

Source: Prince Williams/WireImage

21 Savage attends Leading By Example 21 Savage Basketball Camp.

21 Savage is known for his humor and versatility.

The U.K.-born rapper (born Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) also got his start in the music industry by first growing his fanbase on SoundCloud. Now, he is known for songs like “No Heart” and "Bank Account" — not to mention 21's catalog of collabs with his industry BFF, Drake.

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Lil Yachty

Lil Yachty gained attention on SoundCloud with top-ranking releases like "One Night" and "Minnesota." That was his first step toward fame.

The Georgia native has since gained mainstream success with popular hits like "Who Want The Smoke?" and "Brocolli." Lil Yachty is another SoundCloud alum who has mastered the art of versatility and musical relevance, which are two elements that definitely go a long way in the entertainment industry these days!

Playboi Carti

Source: Instagram/@vlonecarti

Playboi Carti became a sensation on SoundCloud when he released tracks like "Magnolia" and "wokeuplikethis" — both of which gave him internet acclaim. He later got involved with A$AP Mob and signed to their record label, AWGE.

Juice WRLD

The world lost Juice WRLD, one of the artists who helped make mumble rap mainstream, in 2019.

What some may not know is that his career started on SoundCloud in 2015. After taking off, he became one of the top-rated new-age rappers of this era.

But none of it would be possible without SoundCloud — a national treasure that must be protected at all costs!

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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