While still working with a hard-edged production and powerful delivery, rapper Quando Rondo opted for a more emotionally nuanced lyrical approach and R&B undercurrents that set him apart from the vast majority of his peers. Even when flowing over-stylized trap beats, his songs were intelligent and complex while still incorporating enough melodic elements to keep them pop friendly. Quando Rondo's rise was massive and quick, perhaps best exemplified by the titles of his inspired mixtapes Life B4 Fame, released in April 2018, and Life After Fame, released just five months later.
Born Tyquian Terrel Bowman in 1999, the rapper grew up in Savannah, Georgia; he was interested in music at a young age. He adapted his stage name from his nickname, Ty-Quando, adding "Rondo" at the end because he liked the sound of it. His earliest songs arrived in early 2018, including the wistfully nostalgic single "I Remember," which featured a cameo from Lil Baby, and "Motivation," which found Quando's earnest lyrics coasting over a melancholic piano loop. In the spring of 2018, the powerful Life B4 Fame mixtape was released, showcasing Quando's introspective style and including features from OMB Peezy, Tec, and Lil Durk. The mixtape was an immediate success -- it was streamed millions of times in its first few days alone.
With new listeners and fans showing up in droves, Quando didn't slow down for a second, quickly offering a follow-up mixtape, Life After Fame, in September 2018. The project found the young rapper grappling with his newfound success in almost every song, and cameos featured Rich Homie Quan, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Boosie Badazz, and others. In May 2019, Quando released the mixtape From the Neighborhood to the Stage, featuring the tracks "Scarred from Love" and "Imperfect Flower." With guests including NoCap, Polo G, BlocBoy JB, and Shy Glizzy, the mixtape earned Quando his debut on Billboard's Emerging Artists chart, at number 39. ~ Fred Thomas