It's difficult to determine exactly when the limelight will come calling—all you can do is be ready to seize the moment. Memphis rapper BlocBoy JB knows this all too well. He built his name up on his own with songs like “No Chorus Pt. 6," ”Shoot” and “Rover” before one of the biggest rappers in the game—Drake—reached out to collaborate on the early 2018 hit “Look Alive.”

BlocBoy began rapping at age 10, playfully rhyming with his friends, using cafeteria lunch tables for percussion. At 14, he met and began a consistent working relationship with local producer Tay Keith. The two aspiring musicians grew together, recording in closets and sharpening their crafts. ”That's like my brother, we kicked shit in the same hood,” BlocBoy tells XXL. “When I moved out there, he was the first person I linked up with when it came to music.”

In 2016, BlocBoy released his maiden mixtape, Who Am I. The project features “No Chorus Pt. 6,” a one-verse thumper that's approaching 2 million views. The following year he dropped "Shoot," complete with a signature dance that finds him bouncing through the video like a human pogo stick. The song and BlocBoy’s infectious personality propelled the video to 7 million views and spawned countless videos of people mimicking his joyous dance.

“Drake posted me on the Instagram story in [Memphis'] Whitehaven performing 'Shoot,'" the 21 year-old-artist says. “He was really showing respect, so I showed my respect back and sent '100.' He said ‘You're my favorite rapper.’ I was like ‘Damn, I'm your favorite rapper, that's crazy!’” The mutual fans joined forces last month for “Look Alive,” showcasing the rising rapper on a much larger stage and sparking rumors that he'd signed to Drake's OVO (BlocBoy insists he's "independent").

Even with his seemingly overnight success, it’s business as usual for BlocBoy JB. He looks to capitalize on the newfound exposure with his upcoming mixtape Simi, which is named for a fallen friend. "It ain't been different really, it just keeps getting busier and busier," BlocBoy says. "It just ain't hit me yet, know what I'm sayin'?”

Learn more Blocboy JB, one of Memphis' hottest rappers, in XXL’s The Break.

Age: 21

Hometown: Memphis

I grew up listening to: "Three 6 Mafia, Eminem, Jay-Z, Nelly—especially 'Over and Over,' the joint with him and Tim McGraw. That's my favorite joint."

My style’s been compared to: "People say I'm like the Chief Keef of 2018. It's cool, because I know he used to have a good time, he was the one that just bought the good times, turnt up and got plenty guns. I can relate to that."

Most people don’t know: "Some people take me as a joke just because I dance. They think they can try me or whatever. In my mind, I just be like, 'Go 'head.' I want them to know just because I dance don't mean I can't get with the shit."

My standout moments to date have been: "Doing a song with Drake. He was like, 'We gotta work, we gotta drop something, soon.' I hit Tay Keith up, he sent him the beat like the same day. I woke up the next morning, I had it in my messages [by] 10 in the morning. Went to the studio, I freestyled that and we dropped it."

My goal in hip-hop is: "I just wanna kill it and take it to the next level. I wanna be in movies—I can do some good acting. I'ma shoot my own movie so I can let them know how good I can act. It's gonna be like a street version of Set It Off. Instead of robbing banks, we gonna be hittin' licks. It's gonna be crazy."

I’m going to be the next: "I'm gonna be the best rapper in the world. Whoever is at the top, I'm coming for them. Whoever at the top."

Follow BlocBoy JB on Instagram and Twitter.


"Look Alive"


Who Am I 3

"No Chorus Pt. 6"


The Purple M&M

Check Out the 2018 Hip-Hop Music Festivals You Need to See