No other option ever existed. Lil Bike always wanted to rap. Even as a turbulent upbringing carried him almost 700 miles from Monroe, LA to Champaign, IL, he resolutely clung to this musical ambition no matter what. The journey eventually landed him a spot among the esteemed Think It’s A Game Records roster and placed him on the fast track for a rapid come-up in 2019.
However, he spent nearly a decade honing a striking signature style to get there…
“I never wanted to be anything else but a rapper,” he says. “I’ve been rapping for years and years. I studied it. Doing this and going through my own struggles, I eventually became the artist I was meant to be. I found myself. Now, I’m ready to show the world.”
Born to an African-American mother and a Mexican-Caucasian father, music surrounded Lil Bike from a young age. On his own, he discovered and developed a personal passion for Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Kevin Gates, and Boosie Badazz. At the same time, his stepfather turned him on to old school Southern icons such as Pimp-C and Bun B. Regardless of the era, hip-hop offered solace from a tumultuous upbringing.
Mixed heritage gave Bike his fair share of challenges, to say the least. “I’m mixed and light-skinned, so kids were always calling me ‘Little White Boy’ and would pick fights with me at school,” he recalls. “Every day, I’d end up in a fight. We were struggling all around, and fighting isn’t a hard thing to do when you’re already mad. I was just in a lot of trouble.”
In sixth grade, he relocated up North to live with his biological father. For the first time, Lil Bike found himself in a position to focus on rap. Dad built him a home studio, and the budding talent spent countless hours writing and recording. In ninth grade, he started uploading music to Soundcloud and YouTube, building a name for himself through consistently dropping music.
His first release in 2015, under the name De Da Truff, “Do It For You,” went viral and scored 334K plays on Soundcloud as “Drillinois” clocked 284K YouTube views in 2018 with “Ungrateful” and “Spill” both crossing the 100K mark as well. He often wrote verses in his car and recorded them on his Instagram story, attracting a growing viewership. Among that audience, he caught the attention of Think It’s a Game Records who signed him during late 2018.