2rare knows how to make an impact. The Philadelphia native has only been rapping for a year and a half but, in that short time, his anthemic songs and playful videos have earned him a loyal fan base at home and beyond. Still, the 19-year-old isn’t just an overnight success story. He’s put in the time and done his homework, developing a distinct sound that’s firmly planted in the street while also capturing the youthful joy and endless potential that have seen him become his city’s newest young champion.
Growing up North Philly, 2rare saw the rough side of the city up close and personal. “It’s wild out there,” he says. “Robberies and all that stuff going on. It’s crabs in a barrel.” Avoiding the perils of life in the street, he preferred to stay out of the way but that didn’t stop him from earning a local name for himself from an early age. First, he turned heads with his dancing, posting videos of himself doing the Wu-Tang —an energetic dance style that originated in North Philly —and going to his neighborhood skating rink on the weekend to showcase his skills. Then, he turned to football, spending time in between high school games practicing in his backyard and on his block. Bored during the offseason, he decided to book an hour-long session at a local studio and recorded his first-ever song, “Switch Sides,” an emotional track about loved ones turning to betrayal.
When he started missing school, and his high school football career went sideways, he began dedicating himself to the studio. The video for “No Brotherly Love,” a melodic song where 2rare flips Philly’s historic slogan to address the jealousy and hate he’s seen in the city, instantly gained local traction. Despite the attention, he sought to further distance himself from negative themes and take his sound to the next level. “I can’t keep thinking street, ‘cause I really want to be everywhere,” he says. “I want to have my grandma dancing at the cookout and have my mom happy. I saw them stressed all the time so why make music to keep them stressing? I want it to feel good.”
For his next song and video, 2rare tapped into his natural charisma and sense of humor, channeling the energy of his classroom roast sessions in high school, and the Martin Lawrence, Kevin Hart, and Wayans brothers comedy specials he watched growing up. The result, “Big Bag,” is a feel-good anthem about elevating out of dire circumstances. In the video, he dresses up as an old man, dancing on top of a car with a cane and gray wig. This exuberance, and his knack for catchy hooks, have propelled him past Philly’s borders and set him on the path to his current ascent.
Now, 2rare has his eyes set on global stardom. His latest single, “Big Drippa,” rose to No. 15 on the SoundCloud Top 50 chart and has nearly nine million plays on the platform. Recently signed to Internet Money Records/ Homemade Projects/ 10K Projects, 2rare has been working closely with Internet Money on his upcoming singles and debut project. Still, he’s taking fame one step at a time. “I try not to stomach it yet ‘cause then I won’t have this hustle mentality that I have right now,” he says. “I ain’t trying to slow myself down at all.”