Kid rappers are so cute. And smart. And their names usually begin with “Lil’”. Consider Lil’ Bow Wow, who released his first album, Beware of the Dog, at the tender age of 13, led by the hit single “Bounce with Me.” (Remember that?) Under the guidance of Jermaine Dupri and Snoop Dogg, that album went double Platinum. Not bad for a kid who couldn’t even drive.
Ever since those days, being a kid rapper has become a lucrative business if you can match your cute appeal with a sick flow and social media business savvy. Below are some kids doing just that.
This 15-year-old white rapper from New York recently signed a five-album deal with Warner/Chappell that could land him 1.5 million plus royalties. (Seriously, when did you make your first million?). His America’s Got Talent audition tape went viral after making many videos including the popular “80 Bars.” Kick this verse: “See, I was bullied and beat up / but now I’m kicking my feet up / the kid you used to make fun of is getting bigger than D-cups”. Spoken like a prophet.
Sophia Grace & Rosie
These sweet English roses (only 9 and 6) made their YouTube debut rapping to Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass”. Ellen Degeneres soon came calling, and they took the stage like real emcees, except they were dressed in pink tutu dresses and princess tiaras. That’s super cute enough, but Sophia Grace’s reaction when Nicki Minaj actually walked out on stage? Priceless.
Sophia Grace & Rosie Meet Nicki Minaj on Ellen
Since that appearance, this pair (who are actually cousins) have since made many more YouTube videos, become regulars on Ellen’s show, walked the red carpet, and have even launched a movie career with the DVD Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Being the son of a record label executive doesn’t hurt a young up-and-comer. Lil’ Waah, son of Joaquin “Waah” Dean, has recently been signed to his dad’s indie label, Ruff Ryders Indy. This is the same brand that produced Eve, Swizz Beatz, The LOX, DMX and that whole crew. Now it’s Lil Waah’s turn. The 12-year-old is taking tips from his elders, like DMX, who told him to rap slower at his concerts so people could hear his lyrics. Lyrics are something that Lil Waah cherishes because it allows him to express himself. To that end, he’s currently creating a Swizz Beatz hosted mixtape called “Play Time is Over”. Big boy noise. Bring in the buzz.
So this kid Astro (née, Brian Bradley) took on The X Factor (and Simon Cowell) like the astronaut he is, and rocketed into space at a mere 14-years-old. Astro wowed the judges by performing a diss rap of Simon (for looking at this mom!), his astounding Run-D.M.C.-like performance winning over the judges and mothers everywhere. When Simon asked why he hasn’t had a record deal yet, he said, “It’s politics man”. LOL! Kids these days.
Mentored by L.A. Reid, the talented lyricist placed 7th in the competition. He has since rocketed into the TV world with a co-starring role on Red Band Society, and the film world with roles in Earth, Echo and A Walk Among the Tombstones. Somebody had to take a pot shot at the irascible Simon… and it turned out to be a 15 year-old kid!
When a child rapper gets into politics, he means business. Lil Yani was only six when he dropped bars on President Obama in his YouTube viral video, “Obama Made Me Proud.” Dressed in a suit and tie, this little rapper gives hip-hop a whole new look – the executive suite.
And finally, another 6-year-old rapper who appeared on Ellen, who also shot to fame on YouTube. Bentley Green told Ellen he’d been rapping since he was three when his mother taught him how to spell his name through rap. Now that’s a good education!
There are many more young’ns taking over the hip-hop game. And this is just the start. These kids are the future. We can’t wait to hear the bars they spit when they grow up!