With his languid, singsong flow, Southern rapper Lil Poppa delivers thoughtful, street-centric rhymes culled from his experiences in east Jacksonville. Following the releases of his underground mixtapes, he gained viral attention with breakthrough single "Purple Hearts," which was included on his 2018 effort, Under Investigation.
Born in 1994 and raised around his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, Poppa -- taking his moniker after a childhood nickname -- started rapping at the tender age of six, honing his skills by rapping in church and crafting rhymes with his big brother. Outside of that spiritual setting, he also learned plenty from the streets, injecting his storytelling with grit and gravity. He built a makeshift studio in his bedroom and began recording his songs. Following early mixtapes, he made his breakthrough in 2018 with singles "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Purple Hearts." The latter became a viral hit and landed on his mixtape Under Investigation, which notched over a million streams. Signing with Interscope Records, he made his major-label debut in 2019 with the singles "Man of the Year" and "Dangerous." ~ Neil Z. Yeung