The Grind Before the Fame: Four Artists Who Proved That Overnight Success Isn’t Really A Thing

We live in a society that moves quicker than lightning it seems. When we want something, we want it instantaneously. The rapid introduction and adaptation of social media in our daily lives have only allowed that feeling to manifest into the need of having instant gratification. Over the last few years, we have seen the “overnight” success of some of hip-hop and R&B’s biggest stars. We’re granted All-Access passes to the lives of our favorite artists. At any given moment we can login to Instagram, Snapchat or any other social media platform of our choosing and like voyagers, we take in their chic & posh day-to-day lives.


The rewards of success were a long time coming for artists, many who spent nights sleeping in the studio, park benches and on the couches of their friend’s living room. This article isn’t meant to brag on the success of these artists but rather provide a small glimpse into the years of determination, hard-work and sleepless nights. As a musician or just creative person hopefully this inspires you to keep hustlin’ even during the toughest, most draining of days. Giving up just simply isn’t an option.



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Image By Michael Schmelling



 6LACK – His rise to stardom was much like a quiet storm. 6LACK got his start battle-rapping friends and peers around high school in 2009. It was around that time he began to truly take rapping seriously and practice his craft. By 2011 he had dropped out of college at Valdosta State and headed to Miami after being signed to a popular artist’s label. For the next 5 years, he would find himself in a less than favorable situation and contract. Times were tough and money was even tougher to come by for 6LACK, he spent his nights sleeping in the studio, sometimes even having to sleep out in the streets. But by 2016 his debut album “FREE 6lack debuted at #34 on the Billboard 200.



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Young Thug – He undeniably has one of the most unique sounding voices in hip-hop and quite frankly one of the most fascinating figures in the industry. After getting into a fight with his high school teacher and breaking his arm, the then 17-year-old student was sent to finish out his days at an alternative high school. He soon realized his talent for music and rapping and decided to pursue becoming a rapper. By 2011 he had released his first full mixtape “I Came From Nothing” and by 2013 had caught the attention of Gucci Mane and was signed to 1017 Brick Squad Records. However, 2014 was the year that proved to be Young Thug’s breakout year with the release of Rich Gang’s “Lifestyle”.



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Image By GQ Magazine



Migos – Walking into any party you’re more than likely going to hear a variety of songs created by the rap trio. But this culture-shifting obsession with the rap stars wasn’t always like this. In 2009, their first ever song, a track titled “Boost It Up” was recorded using PC program Windows Movie Maker. Two years later the group had saved up enough money to graduate from their makeshift studio to purchasing their own recording equipment and released their 2011 mixtape Juug Season. Once 2013 rolled around, Migos had recorded “Versace” a single that had already reached regional success but blew up once Drake decided to do his own remix of the song which catapulted the trio into mainstream success.    



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Daniel Caesar – It’s been three years since the IXXI collective member took a chance on himself and started to release music for the masses via Soundcloud. In 2014, the Canadian crooner graduated high school and left home to pursue music in the city of Toronto.  He soon found himself homeless, sleeping on park benches and friends couches.  His second EP Praise Break was released in 2014 and included production from Canadian producers Matthew Burnett and Jordan Evans, both who had previous experience working with big-name artists. The project was created entirely in a living room and Caesar after working a long shift as a dishwasher would find himself having to record songs during the wee hours of the morning. By 2017 he released his debut album Freudian and is currently on tour.

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