An MC who broke out of Pompano Beach, Florida when he was just 18 years old, Kodak Black (born Dieuson Octave) attracted listeners with a sound that harked back to the Dirty South of the '90s. In 2013, he introduced his Lil' Boosie-influenced snarly vocals to the world, but what surprised the audience was his Master P-like music and his heavy, often dark lyrics, both of which seemed odd coming from a then-16-year-old. Recording demos in the back of a drug house and repeated visits to juvenile court gave weight to his violent lyrics and stories of inner-city life -- two things that fueled his 2014 mixtape, Project Baby. The mixtape Heart of the Projects followed in 2015, featuring "SKRT," a hit track that got massive exposure when superstar Drake shared it on the web and played in on his OVO Sound Radio show. After signing a deal with Atlantic, his third mixtape, Institution, appeared at the end of the year. In 2016, Kodak Black appeared on French Montana's hit single "Lockjaw" before releasing his fourth mixtape, Lil B.I.G. Pac. The following year he put out his debut studio album, Painting Pictures, which featured guest spots from Jeezy, Future, and Young Thug. The set topped the R&B/Hip-Hop chart and rose to number three on the Billboard 200. Kodak quickly returned with Project Baby 2 later in 2017, the fifth mixtape and sequel to the 2014 Project Baby release.
His R&B-influenced mixtape Heart Break Kodak dropped on Valentine's Day in 2018, rising to number 25 on the overall albums chart. Months later, after a series of legal charges and not guilty pleas, he was sentenced to a year in prison; however, due to credit for time served, he was released after just four months. While in prison, he legally changed his name to Bill K. Kapri and earned his GED. Upon release, he issued the single "If I'm Lyin, I'm Flyin." The track was the lead single for his sophomore LP Dying to Live, which dropped later that year in December. ~ David Jeffries