American rapper BlocBoy JB emerged in 2017 with a pair of viral hits that highlighted his speedy rhymes and big bass production from longtime producer Tay Keith. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, JB flirted with gang-related criminal activity before quickly immersing himself in his music. After releasing a series of well-received mixtapes, he caught the attention of Canadian rapper Drake, who collaborated with him on the viral single "Look Alive." The track reached the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100, and helped solidify JB's fan base.
Born James Baker in Memphis, Tennessee, JB grew up in a large, single-parent household and would sneak his brother's equipment away to record his own music. The self-taught producer and dancer released his first song, "Goons Coming," when he was just a teenager. In 2017, he issued "No Chorus, Pt. 6" and "Shoot," the latter of which took off and caught the ears of high-profile rappers like Drake. Produced by Keith, the track was featured on his Who Am I 3 mixtape, and was recorded in the rapper's closet. As his online audience grew, he issued additional mixtapes like The Purple M&M. In early 2018, he scored a major co-sign when Drake joined him on the track "Look Alive." Included on JB's Simi mixtape, the track amassed millions of streams within a month of its release. It also became JB's Billboard chart debut, landing at number six on the Hot 100. ~ Neil Z. Yeung