His hometown: Gaithersburg, Md.
His crew: He calls his fans and entourage the RattPack and was signed to Def Jam via the Visionary Music Group.
His story: The 25-year-old high school dropout, born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, has been building up his fan base D.I.Y.-style since his teens. He gained enough buzz off his “Young Sinatra” mixtape series — he’s an avowed fan of Ol’ Blue Eyes — to headlined the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis even before he landed his record deal. His Def Jam debut, “Under Pressure,” hit the Billboard charts at No. 4 last October.
His music: “Under Pressure” is full of Drake-style, emotionally raw me-against-the-world personal stories, most of which boast positive lessons and messages about clean-living that Drake’s mom would love. The album’s nine-minute title track, about his strained relationship with his troubled father, alternately breaks and warms the heart. His lyrics sometimes turn trite — i.e., “This music is in my genes like denim” — but his hardest-hitting, rapidly rhymed highlights such as “Growing Pains III” and “Driving Ms. Daisy” show a lot of bite for a rapper who seems to be gunning for a Macklemore-like breakthrough.